The average graded Ronaldo RC is out of reach for most collectors, but is it worth looking at later options which are more wallet-friendly?
Here’s everything you could possibly need to know about the best Cristiano Ronaldo cards, with options to suit almost every budget.
Top Cristiano Ronaldo RCs
Firstly, we’ll begin by listing a trio of the top Cristiano Ronaldo rookie cards which represent some of his best investment options.
They were all released from 2002-04, centering on his time with Sporting CP and Manchester United.
1. 2002-03 Panini Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo RC #137 (eBay)
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first ever card comes from his time spent at Sporting Clube de Portugal as a youngster.
The 2002-03 Panini Mega Craques features a large, full-bleed action shot of the player with the ball at his feet, which is fair considering he was best known for world class dribbling and skills during his formative years.
It’s seen as Ronaldo’s ‘true’ rookie card, and that is reflected in the high asking prices for ungraded copies, as well as PSA 10s.
If you can only have one Ronaldo card and money is no object, this could be a great choice.
It’s also worth mentioning just how young he looks in the image, as he had yet to transform into the athlete we all know today.
2. 2002-03 Panini Stickers Cristiano Ronaldo #306 (eBay)
Another option from the same season, the 2002-03 Panini Stickers set features an early Ronaldo release.
This time, it’s styled in the form of a traditional profile shot of the player, with a familiar determined expression etched on his face.
Ronaldo made his debut for Sporting CP at the age of 18, winning the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira.
As a sticker, there aren’t many copies available in the present, and even fewer will be able to earn a high grade. It’s not as popular as the Mega Craques, but it’s still another viable Ronaldo RC that will sell for a large sum.
3. 2003-04 Upper Deck Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo #13,14,15 (eBay)
Ronaldo joined Manchester United at the start of the 2003-04 season. The transfer fee of £12.24 million made him, at the time, the most expensive teenager in English football history.
In 2003-04, Upper Deck released a Manchester United themed set with a trio of Ronaldo base cards contained within.
Numbered #13,14, and 15, there are also Black parallels, and Gold parallels limited to the player’s shirt number.
They’re still seen as RCs by many collectors, while they’re likely to shoot up in value as he joined the club again this season after over a decade away.
Manchester United (2003-09)
Ronaldo moved to Manchester United as a teenager in 2003. He went on to win three consecutive Premier League titles, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, and at age 23, he won his first Ballon d’Or.
Of his early Red Devils cards, it’s hard to do better than the trio of base cards from the 2003-04 Upper Deck Manchester United collection.
For a cheaper option, the 2005 Panini Champions Of Europe Soccer Red Cross #228 can be found within the three figure range.
Real Madrid (2009-18)
The majority of Ronaldo’s cards were released across the decade he spent as a Real Madrid player.
Given Los Blancos achieved the impossible when they won 3 back to back Champions League titles with Ronaldo at the helm, it’s unlikely that anyone will forget his impact for the side anytime soon.
PSA 10 copies of his Real Madrid cards are often relatively affordable, especially if you’re looking at Donruss Soccer sets.
With Juventus’ victory in the 2021 Coppa Italia Final on 19 May, Ronaldo became the first player in history to win every major domestic trophy in England, Spain and Italy.
It’s easy to discount Ronaldo’s impact in Italy due to the lack of a UCL title, but his time in Serie A is likely to be remembered fondly by fans.
After all, he left as the fastest player in Juventus history to reach 100 goals with the club.
Manchester United: (2022-)
The latest round of Ronaldo cards will see him wearing red and white, evoking memories of one of the best eras in Premier League history.
We’ve yet to see what Topps/Panini have planned, but CR7 is sure to feature heavily in his new club colours.
Ronaldo is the talismanic captain of Portugal, leading the team to a Euro 2016 victory, as well as winning the 2018-19 Nations League.
Any image of the player in a Portugal kit is worth decent money, especially if you’re looking at older World Cup branded cards.
He’s set to captain the side at the 2022 World Cup, and it’s likely to be his last ever tournament.
It might be a good idea to snap up a few of his cards from upcoming sets.
Why It’s Worth Collecting New Graded Cristiano Ronaldo Cards
Ronaldo is arguably the biggest star in world football along with Leo Messi. At 36, collectors and investors are running out of opportunities to grab his cards at current prices before he hangs up his boots for good.
Historically, retirement tends to boost the prices of most player cards, none more so than RCs.
However, they’re also some of the most expensive options out there, so it’s worth noting that every graded Ronaldo card will probably see an uptick in interest when all is said and done.
That means that now is the time to buy, especially if you’re aiming to hold onto the cards as a long-term investment option.