Cristiano Ronaldo (05/02/85) is possibly the best footballer in the world and currently plays for Juventus in Serie A. A superstar for both Manchester United and Real Madrid, he was sold from the former to the latter in what was then a world record £80m fee in 2009.
He went out to win a trio of Champions League trophies in an unprecedented triumph while battling Lionel Messi for the GOAT crown. At the age of 35, his best years are clearly behind him, but he’s still putting up good numbers and winning trophies consistently in Italy.
Here are three top C. Ronaldo rookie card options, as well as an investment outlook as he heads ever closer to retirement.
The Top 3 Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie Cards
His rookie cards are from his Sporting CP days when he was a young promising player who had yet to set the world alight.
Are they worth lots of money? SIIIIIIIIIIIIII.
2002 Christiano Ronaldo Panini Sports Mega Craques RC #137 (buy on eBay)
The first card to make the list features a shot of a teenage Ronaldo with the ball at his feet while wearing the green and white stripes of Sporting. The 2012-03 Panini Sports Mega Craques is widely seen as his true RC, and it’s priced accordingly when looking at gem mint options.
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Even a PSA 8 is worth a significant four-figure fee, which is unsurprising considering it shows the player dribbling back when he could beat anyone effortlessly. There’s a large silver tab located on the left-hand side, filled with the player and team name, while there’s a small Sporting CP logo at the bottom.
2002 Cristiano Ronaldo Panini Futebol Stickers RC #306 (buy on eBay)
Stickers aren’t always the most popular option with collectors, especially if there’s a card from the same year available. When it comes to Ronaldo, it’s okay to make an exception for his 2002-03 Panini Futebol Stickers release.
It features a strong profile shot of the Portugal skipper as he lines up for his club team, with enough gel in his hair to identify it as an early ‘00s sticker. The bottom has a yellow and black checkered design, to make space for his name and a larger Sporting logo. Mint editions are comparable in value to the Panini Craques, so try not to imagine how many were stuck on walls and forgotten about at the time.
2003 Cristiano Ronaldo Upper Deck Manchester United #13,14,15 (buy on eBay)
As he’s most strongly associated with his time with Man Utd, it’s no surprise to find one of his first cards being popular with fans of the best-supported club in the world.
There are three different base cards to mark his inaugural season in England, flitting between the red, white, and black kits they used that season. There are also a couple of signed parallels in the same set, with a base red card numbered to 39 and a black parallel which features a different image and is numbered to 25.
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He was still a teen when he first joined the side and transformed into the phenom we know today before switching to Spain. He’s best remembered in the red of Manchester, so it’s no surprise to see that they are always hotly contested at auction.
Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie Card Checklist
- 2002 Panini Futebol Stickers RC #306
- 2002 Panini Sports Mega Craques RC #137
- 2003 Upper Deck Manchester United RC #13,14,15
- 2004 SP Authentic RC #7
- 2004 UK Traditions Football World Stars RC
- 2004 Panini WCCF Soccer World Side Attacker RC #WSA4
- 2004 Panini “Paixao Por Portugal” Portugal Rookie #117
- 2004 Panini Paixao Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie RC #117
- 2006 Panini World Cup 1st WC Rookie Card #169
Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie Card Value (includes non-rookies)
The value of Cristiano Ronaldo RCs should trend upwards as he finishes out his prime years.
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- Most Common: The most common cards up for auction on eBay is the 2014 Panini Prizm Soccer World Cup #161
Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide & Investment Advice
The Portugal captain is an incredible physical specimen who has dedicated his life to the sport and continues to defy the odds, even at the age of 35. In terms of possible retirement date, he touched upon the subject in 2019.
“The moment my body is no longer responding in the right way on the field, then it would be the time to leave. My success in my field is the result of hard work and a way of living. I work continuously to improve my mental and physical abilities. I aspire to continue my studies after retiring from football.”
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Ronaldo has been counted out many times before, but he’s still putting in numbers that put the majority of others to shame. There’s a chance that he could return to Sporting for a year or two to round out his career, and he has done more than enough to be included in the GOAT conversation.
When he does retire, it’s no stretch to say that the game will lose a true icon, while it’s apparent that he has more fans than any other player; if you listen to online forums where he’s seen as a demigod.
His cards are still underpriced considering his achievements, and they’re sure to shoot up following his retirement from the sport.
If you can afford the significant outlay, now is likely to be the best time to board the hype train.
Investment Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Best Cristiano Ronaldo Rookie Card: 2002 Panini Futebol Stickers RC #306
Rookie Card Ramblings Ownership: None
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