News Live Scores
Cristiano Ronaldo

Rare Ronaldo Panini sticker of Man Utd superstar at Sporting sells for £59,000

6:33 PM IST 07/02/22
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal Republic of Ireland 2021
The five-time Ballon d’Or has become an all-time great after bursting onto the scene in Portugal as a precociously-gifted youngster

Cristiano Ronaldo’s appeal stretches well beyond the football field, with a rare Panini sticker featuring the Portuguese superstar during his early years at Sporting being sold at auction for £59,000 ($80,000).

Now 37 years of age, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has come a long way from humble beginnings to cement a standing as an all-time great.

It was in his homeland that he burst onto the scene, convincing Manchester United to make a move for his services, and it is a sticker from back in 2002-03 that has generated considerable interest among collectors.

Why is the Ronaldo sticker so rare?

The sticker produced by legendary Italian company Panini is said to be one of just 200 in existence.

Many have either been lost or destroyed down the years, with only 22 considered to be in mint condition, making the product in question extremely desirable.

It also has to be noted that Ronaldo did not stick around long enough at Sporting as a senior star in order for products of him on their books to be produced on a mass scale.

After catching the eye during a pre-season friendly in the summer of 2003, a precociously-gifted teenager was snapped up by legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

He went on to spend six memorable years at Old Trafford, scoring 118 goals while landing three Premier League titles, a Champions League crown and the first of his Ballon d'Or awards.

Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid in 2009 and broke countless records during his time in Spain.

He plundered 450 goals for the Blancos in just 438 appearances, while conquering Europe on a further four occasions.

Three seasons were spent at Juventus between 2018 and 2021, with 101 goals recorded in Italy, before retracing steps to his spiritual home in Manchester.

The bigger picture

Ronaldo is now a global phenomenon, becoming the first man to pass 400 million followers on Instagram, and boasts a loyal legion of followers that stretches to every corner of the planet.

With that in mind, it comes as no surprise to find that a sticker from his younger years was sold for close to £60,000 by New Jersey-based auctioneers Goldin.

Jamie Salt, director of Goldin, said of the sale: “This card features one of the greatest players of all time in his earliest officially licensed trading card, otherwise known in the industry as a ‘true rookie card’. It was part of a set exclusively produced in Italy for the Portuguese market only.

“Not many examples of this card will have survived through the years, with many people throwing away or burning them and even less copies would have survived in mint condition.

“Only around 200 examples of this card have been graded by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). This card is just one of 22 copies in existence to have been given the Gem Mint 10 by PSA, meaning it is practically flawless.”

Other cards and stickers featuring prominent players have been sold by Goldin recently, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s sticker from 2000 – while on the books at Malmo – going for $31,2000, while a Pele card from 1957 has sold for $486,000, making it the second-most expensive soccer card of all time.

Further reading