Like a fine wine, Karim Benzema only seems to get better with age. One of the best strikers of his generation, he has won five UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid, and picked up the 2022 Ballon d’Or. Here’s a roundup with a trio of top Benzema rookie cards and stickers to look out for.
Karim Benzema has been around for years, first with Lyon in Ligue 1, and then Real Madrid since 2009. He hasn’t always been the most popular player, and that’s without accounting for any controversies.
I can remember him being left out of the 2010 France squad, not because of “any alleged involvement in a sex scandal”, but because he was struggling to find the net for La Real. However, a lot has changed in 12 years, and he’s now an icon for his club side, and is set to lead the line in the 2022 World Cup.
Here’s a roundup with a trio of top rookie options featuring Karim Benzema.
Top 3 Karim Benzema Rookie Cards
Benzema made his professional debut on 15 January 2005 for Lyon in Ligue 1. That’s where we’ll be heading to look at his most important early collectibles.
3. 2005 Panini WCCF European Clubs Karim Benzema RC #92 (eBay)
The 2005-06 Panini WCCF European Clubs card is one of the earliest collectibles to feature the French international. As you’ll see from the reverse, it’s a Japanese card that is especially prone to damage due to the black coloring on the edges.
You’ll also find a second profile shot of Benzema on the reverse. First produced in 2001, the WCCF set is starting to wind down as of 2022.
2. 2007 Panini UEFA UCL Karim Benzema #228 (eBay)
Released to coincide with Lyon’s entry into the 2007 Champions League, this Panini sticker features a simple profile shot of Benzema. Lyon topped Ligue 1 that season, and got to the Round of 16 in the UCL. It’s one of the few stickers you won’t be able to get reprinted by Panini, so you’ll have to look to the resale market to grab a copy. PSA 9 copies sell for over $100.
1. 2006-07 Panini Foot France Karim Benzema RC #180 (eBay)
Similar to the sticker seen above in many respects, the 2006-07 Panini Foot release shows a rookie Benzema in a profile shot. As with many early stickers, there aren’t many copies that have survived until the present day.
Panini Foot is one of the better known European sticker sets, and this is by far the most valuable option overall. A PSA 10 copy of the sticker (as seen above) recently sold for a flat $1,000. It’s the first national release in his home country, and is certainly more understated compared to the WCCF card.
Karim Benzema Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
What do we think of the current market for the best ever Benzema rookie cards?
As with many soccer stars, there are options that range from entry-level to high-end. You won’t struggle to find cheaper cards and stickers, alongside newer rare parallels and autos.
If you’re looking for the most valuable rookie releases, It’s hard to go wrong with a vintage sticker from his time with Lyon. The earlier the better, so the Panini Foot release is the best place to start, for reasons we’ve gone into above. History is likely to look back fondly on the French forward, especially if he manages to win the World Cup with France.
There’s no way for a forward to stay at a club like Real Madrid for so long without being special. Benzema was happy to play second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo for the good of the team, and was capable enough to pick up the mantle when he was asked to be the main man. Even as he nears his mid-30’s, he’s still good enough to star for any side in Europe.
He’s finally being recognized for his achievements, and the 2022 Ballon d’Or win is likely to have an impact on the value of Benzema’s rookie cards and stickers in the long term.