Top Lionel Messi Cards to Collect
Lionel Messi is arguably the biggest current name in soccer. The speedy Argentinean forward is a fan favorite and despite somewhat limited cardboard options, remains one of the top choices for soccer collecting, along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Pelé. The only thing that keeps him from staking his claim as the top player of all-time is his lack of World Cup success. If he can lead Argentina to the ultimate soccer prize, collectors can expect Lionel Messi cards to surge even higher.
Despite already having a rather lengthy professional career, which began in 2003 with Barcelona, collectors looking for Lionel Messi cards will not find that many options. Values remain strong for key cards and collectors naturally gravitate to the earliest Lionel Messi cards, which were released in 2004-05 products, as well as his low-numbered options and autographed cards.
Pack-pulled and certified autographs still remain elusive, but 2013 Icons Messi and 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup both boast signed cards for the scoring machine. Like his certified autographs, event and game-worn jersey cards for Messi remain sparse. Collectors can find Lionel Messi jersey cards in several editions of Futera, as well as 2013 Icons Limited Messi Collection.
For a detailed look at key early cards for Lionel Messi, as well as an apparel guide, view our Lionel Messi profile here.
Top Lionel Messi Cards
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Easily the most valuable of the Lionel Messi rookie cards, 2004-05 Mega Cracks has seen a tremendous increase in value. Versions that are graded BGS 9 have been selling for $350 and up.
While stickers are normally less valuable and less popular, especially with modern cards, Lionel Messi's 2004-05 Panini Este sticker is considerably more rare than most of his other first-year cards. Collectors have certainly taken notice of this and a BGS 9.5 sold for $440 in May of 2014.
2013 Icons Limited Messi Collection Lionel Messi Autograph (Multiple versions)
The first major release of a certified, pack-pulled autograph for Lionel Messi came in 2013 Icons Messi Collection. Broken into two versions, the limited edition boxes offer autographs and game-worn and event-worn jersey cards, while the basic retail version only includes base cards.
The rare premium product was only available in Japan and Lionel Messi autographs fall about one per case. Despite several unimpressive card designs, the main draw is the large on-card signature. In total, there are five different Lionel Messi signed cards found in the product.
Refractor-mania is nothing new for North American collectors, but Prizm World Cup is among the first products to bring an extensive checklist of the shiny parallels to international soccer. The full group includes 11 different parallels, and collectors have shown a considerable interest in the rarest options, including Green Crystal Prizm (#/25), Gold Prizm (#/10), Gold Power Prizm (#/5) and Black Prizm (1/1).
Because Messi is featured in multiple inserts (Net Finders, Matchups, Stars) and the base set, there are actually 48 different Lionel Messi cards to collect, including the non-Prizm versions of each card. If you include the Team Photos inserts for Argentina, that adds 12 more cards, for a total of 60 different Lionel Messi cards.
While it is not the first certified Lionel Messi signed card to emerge from a pack, the Lionel Messi autograph is one of the most popular cards in the entire Prizm World Cup product. In a perfect world, this would be signed on-card, but other than that, this is an awesome card. Rare Prizm parallels add further intrigue and are numbered to just 25.