Date of Birth: 6/24/1987
Rookie Card Year: 2004-05
Investment Rating: 9.5
It does not matter if you call it futbol, football or soccer, Lionel Messi is among the biggest names in the sport and he is widely considered one of the game's all-time greats. The diminutive forward is heralded for his quickness, footwork and scoring prowess. As one of the most popular athletes in the world, Lionel Messi cards are highly pursued.
Born and raised in Argentina, Lionel Messi excelled in the sport at a young age and various clubs took notice. At the age of the 13, Messi joined the FC Barcelona youth academy. After several years with the club, Lionel Messi made his official first-team debut in 2003 at the age of 16, and made his La Liga debut for Barcelona the next season. Messi also started his international career with Argentina in 2004.
Soon after, the Lionel Messi rookie cards appeared and remain some of his top cards to collect.
As soccer cards have become more common in the collecting world, so too have Lionel Messi cards. Check out some of the best Lionel Messi cards in our detailed top list.
The following list documents key Lionel Messi cards from his debut season in 2004-05. Most can be found with relative ease, but they are certainly not in great supply and high-grade versions remain rare.
Top Lionel Messi Rookie Cards Checklist
2004-05 Mundi Cromo Sport Las Fichas de la Liga Lionel Messi #617
Part of the extensive Mundi Cromo set that covers La Liga, this Spanish card is one of the earliest Lionel Messi cards. It is generally not as popular as the various first-year Panini cards, so it is the cheapest way to obtain a Lionel Messi rookie card.
2004-05 Mundi Cromo Top Liga Lionel Messi #195
The other Mundi Cromo first-year release for Lionel Messi is a quad-player card. They actually do not seem to turn up very often, and in addition to the base version, there is also a shiny foil parallel version. Both sides of the card are shown below.
2004-05 Panini Este La Liga Sticker Lionel Messi
One of the rarest first-year cards for Lionel Messi, the Panini Este sticker is non-numbered and commands high prices. The first of several Panini cards, the horizontal layout and dual images of Messi help it stand out from the others.
2004-05 Panini Mega Cracks Lionel Messi #71
Although not as rare as the Panini Este, this Mega Cracks card for Lionel Messi is one of the most valuable rookie cards for the Barca forward. It appears to use the same image featured in card #89 from the set below. Among collectors, this is the preferred rookie card for Lionel Messi.
2004-05 Panini Mega Cracks Barca Campeón / Campió Lionel Messi #35,#62,#89
Lastly, there is the Barca Campeón / Campió edition product. The reason for the two different names is because there is a Spanish version (Campeón) and a Catalan version (Campió). Although the differences are subtle, they can be easily distinguished by the name included on the crest in the corner and also by the spelling of the headline on the card front.
The Spanish Campeón cards feature Campeones, Accion and Autografo on the three cards, while the Catalan version showcases Campions, Accio and Autograf. The Catalan #35 and Campeón #62 can be seen below and both versions are shown for card #89, which features a facsimile autograph.
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