It feels like Vinicius Junior has been around for a while, yet the Real Madrid and Brazil winger is still only 22.
He made his senior debut in 2017, for Flamengo at the age of 16. He joined La Real after his 18th birthday, but took a while to settle in with the Spanish giants.
However, 2021/22 was undoubtedly a breakthrough season for the young forward, capped by a Champions League final win in which he scored the only goal. Vini Jr. RCs are now some of the more hyped collectibles in the hobby.
We’ve put together a list containing the best Vinicius Junior rookie cards, with lots of important information for anyone who wants to collect his earliest options.
The Best Vinicius Junior Rookie Cards
Vini Jr. has been around since 2017, and he was *supposedly included in a couple of rare sticker sets from that year that we’ll discuss into below. There’s also a trio of Panini Vinicius rookie cards, if you’d prefer to chase cardboard collectibles.
5. 2017 Abril Campeonato Carioca Sub20 Promo Stickers Vinicius Junior RC (eBay)
Vini Jr RC stickers from 2017? You’d think that they’d be the best option by a wide margin. However, there are question marks surrounding their legitimacy.
A 2021 PSA investigation into the Vini Jr RC stickers found;
“In the case of each sticker, no hard information has been found to link these to a specific release or manner of distribution.
The 2017 Abril Campeonato Carioca SUB20 Promo Stickers are said to have been distributed to attendees of a youth tournament in Brazil. However, there is no official documentation of this ever occurring.
Lastly, the 2017 O Globo Brazil Promessas Stickers were said to have been presented to children at an O Globo office party (O Globo is a major newspaper in Brazil). Again, there is no first-hand account or documentation of this ever happening nor is there a complete checklist for the set.
Further research into past transactions for these stickers revealed that the vast majority of sales all came from a single dealer in the United States. There have been no past sales for these items in Brazil, which is supposedly the country from where they originated.
After further inquiries with notable soccer card enthusiasts, it is now suspected that these stickers were illegally produced and presented as authentic, licensed pieces to the soccer card documentation website. This site generates much of its information from shared knowledge among hobbyists and crowdsourcing checklists.
PSA has since deactivated these stickers within our system and will no longer be grading examples that may be submitted in the future.”
Wow. I know a fair amount about soccer cards and stickers from recent years, but my knowledge of 2017 Brazil releases is limited. In this case, I’d trust PSA.
4. 2017 O Globo Brazil Promessas RC #55 (eBay)
The second suspect sticker, as noted above by PSA. They say it’s; ‘suspected that these stickers were illegally produced and presented as authentic’. As such, we’d probably avoid the set to be on the safe side.
3. 2018 Panini Megacracks Vinicius Junior RC #369 (eBay)
Maybe it’s best to stick with licensed Real Madrid cards to be on the safe side.
Vini Jr’s 2018-19 Panini Megacracks RC features a simple action shot of the forward during one of his trademark mazy runs. Found in the official collection of trading cards from LaLiga Santander, there are no question marks surrounding its legitimacy.
(In fact, the Mega Cracks set is best known for a top Lionel Messi RC, released way back in 2004.)
As a Spanish release, there’s no equivalent English version, and it’s reasonably valuable when graded, despite a higher print run.
2. 2018-19 Panini Treble Premiere Vinicius Junior RC #177 (eBay)
A debut for the brand, 2018-19 Panini Treble Soccer was released in time to see Vinicius join Real Madrid. Treble also offers “true rookie cards” via the 25-card Panini Premiere subset. (Hence the RC logo in the bottom left corner.)
Vinicius was included as one such rookie, with cards from the subset averaging at one per box. Micro-etched serial numbered parallels will sell for a serious sum of money, despite the lack of an autographed version.
- Parallels: Blue #/75, Purple #/49, Gold #/25, Green #/10, Platinum 1/1
1. 2018-19 Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Vinicius Junior RC #177 (eBay)
2018-19 Donruss Soccer is a popular collection that makes good use of the Optic brand.
It was also the debut for soccer ‘Rated Rookie’ cards, such as this Vinicius RC that features an action shot of the player celebrating after finding the back of the net.
There are numbered Press Proof parallels to chase, as well as Optic parallels. When looking at Vinicius rookie cards, we’d opt for the latter, given the chrome finish and higher price tag.
- Press Proof Parallels: Green, Red, Silver, Die-Cuts #/100, Gold #/75, Canvas #/25, Gold Die-Cuts #/10, Blue #/5, Purple 1/1
- Optic Parallels: Holo, Green Velocity #/200, Aqua #/149, Purple Velocity #/125, Orange #/99, Red Velocity #/50, Black Velocity #/25, Gold #/10, Green #/5, Gold Vinyl 1/1
Vinicius Junior Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
There’s a distinct lack of Vinicius Junior rookie autos. That hasn’t stopped the market from heating up over the past 12 months. Here’s what we think.
There’s a ton of cheap Vinicius cards, with options like his Rated Rookie that can be picked up for a more affordable price tag.
It’s tough to choose between the Donruss and the Treble Vinicius RC. We’d opt for the latter if looking at equivalent numbered versions. From an investment perspective, you can’t do better than his true RC.
Vinicius Junior Rookie Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
There’s no denying the amount of hype surrounding Vinicius Junior at the moment. He seems to have come of age while taking up the mantle for Real Madrid in the attacking half along with Karim Benzema. This was capped by his UCL Final winner in 2021/22.
He has also seen off the likes of Eden Hazard, with the Brazilian international far ahead in the pecking order. If Vinicius Junior is able to harness his potential and win more serious trophies, his rookie cards look to be one of the best soccer investments overall.