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in collaborazione con Edicola Birra Fumetteria

album: Adrenalyn XL Qatar 2022 (Panini)

cards: 495 (1-495)

starter pack: binder + 4 packets + 3 cards limited edition 9,90€

box: 24 packets (8 cards per packet) 2,00€ each

tba: packets Premium, Gold Premium, Tin Box, Bomber Magazine

If you follow our reviews, you will have understood that we are very retro in style, in love with the stickers to be attached and less enthusiastic about the most modern cards to be collected in almost always anonymous binders. Have we become a minority? Maybe not yet, but it is undeniable that this is the way. For this reason, compared to the classic sticker album, with cards we really have to be surprised to be carried away by enthusiasm, as happened with the latest Mario Bros.

The Adrenalyn collection on the World Cup has an advantage on its side, that the older brother, the stickers, is not an album that cries out for a miracle, on the contrary. What makes an impression, as old collectors, is the difference in price to the advantage of the cards. In the classic Panini packets we find 5 poor quality stickers at the price of 1 euro, in the Adrenalyn packets we find 8 good quality cards, also from the graphic point of view where Panini, for some years, in international tournaments, shows some interesting news.

One therefore thinks, with some fear, that on some collections there is a strong intention to move the public from traditional stickers to new cards. In short, to push in a direction putting, in some way, in difficulty those who would like to remain faithful to tradition. Maybe it’s just our suggestion, but the doubt remains.

The Adrenalyn collection has clearly improved if we think of the previous World Cup collections, giant steps compared to Brazil 2014, better than Russia 2018. We notice it in the graphic work that was certainly laborious. The problem, for example, of the Adrenalyn Calciatori is the repetition year after year often of the same cards, even if the names of the above players are different. Here we see something new, not entirely, let’s say that it seems to us a path born with Euro 2016 and that is continuing, improving.

The basic set, where nine players per national team are presented, manages to be original while following the already seen idea of ​​having the colors of the national teams as a background. The big difference between the traditional sticker album and the Adrenalyn, to the advantage of the former, is the completeness. In the cards we find far fewer protagonists of the world championships, as well as of the Europeans. Imagine the blues of Espana82 or Berlin2006 and if there hadn’t been the traditional albums with all their stickers. Then of course, there were no updates and some protagonists are missing, but it’s always nice to see. Perhaps because we see sticker albums as educational encyclopedias of a particular competition and not just the set of many players, champions or not.

The basic cards start from number 28, from the favorite Argentina and go up to number 288, in alphabetical order, not considering the groups. Correct choice, for the cards, it is madness to do it with the stickers. The first 27 are a great starter with Top Masters, Rookies and Legends cards. Attention, in the basic set of 9 cards per team we do not find Australia, Costa Rica and Wales which are at the bottom of the collection in the 52 Contenders cards where we find them together with the others from the play-offs. The list does not include the cards from 442 to 450 which seem to have not really been printed due to rights problems.

Returning to the collection, after the basic set to follow the always classic and questionable Fan’s Favorite with cards from 289 to 342. The next 54 cards present the players divided by position, one for each team even if not all national teams are present. Titans the 18 defenders, Magicians the 18 midfielders, Goal Machines the 18 forwards. Beautiful shield-shaped graphics on the back, always in the colors of the national teams. The Top Keepers cards feature the 9 main goalkeepers. From these cards and subsequent ones, the graphics maintain the idea of ​​the scudetto but in a different format. It is important to underline the visual effects that we find in the various cards, from crystal to metallized to the holographic of the rookie and legend cards.

We do not know if completely reliable, but it is interesting to give a rarity index to all the cards. It could also be a way to manage exchanges, based on the type, fair exchanges can be organized. Then the rules of the market as well as those of exchanges often take unexpected paths, but, even as the graphics of the cards, we find this index clearly visible in the center is guessed. Compared to the past, even that little bit of customization is welcome even on the back, we are light years away from the legendary Score of the 90s but you can glimpse something.

A few more considerations should be made on the guide insert to the collection, on which Panini often does an excellent job. The second part of the insert is in fact an album, only the stickers to attach are missing and it takes up different aspects that we also find in the classic adhesive version. Statistical data, vintage stickers of great champions, stadiums, moments of glory and more. A little to the detriment of the presentation of the collection, the information on the material that can be found on newsstands (and on the site) is sparse, but it is an interesting novelty, a little even disturbing, if we think about our fears told before ..

In general, a collection that is appreciated, even in its variety, nothing sensational but also for this reason more suitable for a wider audience, not willing to go crazy to complete it. Of course, if you are satisfied with the Italian edition, without looking for the cards subsequent to 495 distributed in northern Europe and all the myriad of limited editions scattered throughout the various countries.

Note of merit for having put in the starter pack three limited editions of real top players such as Dusan Vlahovic, Neymar and Lautaro Martinez. For the other limited, good research in the Premium packets, the Tin Box and the Bomber magazine (who knows if someone reads it or just takes the inserts).

Having put together teams that in the end do not take part in the world championship, we would have dared a little more, adding the cards of the great champions excluded. We don’t think so much about our Azzurri, but surely and for example Haaland’s card, the next big thing, would certainly have been sought after by everyone.


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