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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2023/24 (Topps)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 335

album: Champions League 2023/24 (Topps)

stickers: 741 (1-741)

starter pack: album + 2 packets 4,99€

box: 50 packets (8 stickers per packet) 1,00€ each

mega booster pack: 10 packets 9,99€

More than a month later than 2022, the long-awaited Champions League album arrives on newsstands, published by Topps as in recent years. Lots of curiosity and any important news, positive or negative? We have our say, naturally some collectors may have different opinions. An all-Italian consideration must be made initially: the release of the album just 15 days after the flagship Calciatori is a rather risky choice.

Also considering that inside it is reported that the data is updated at the end of August, so there was time to have it released as usual in October. Naturally, we cannot know whether this “delay” is caused by problems or was actually an editorial choice, from a European point of view and not just an Italian one.

The total number of stickers increases, almost a hundred more than in 2022. Not in absolute terms, but in the total number of stickers to be found in the classic packs. This data is positive from another aspect, goodbye (hopefully goodbye) to the L trading cards released in a rather disjointed way over the months and on sale only on the Topps website. Site that manages to be worse than Panini’s.

So all the stickers of the basic set are found in the sachets, a sore point here is that the cost has remained at 1 euro per packet but inside we find 8 stickers compared to 10 last year. It still remains an advantageous editorial proposal compared to those of other publishers but in any case it has less impact. So with 100 more stickers and 8 per pack instead of 10, a larger purchase will be necessary compared to last year.

Topps puts limited edition stickers on the market, the infamous parallel ones, therefore with different details from the classic sticker. It’s nothing new but it remains a determining factor, at least for collectors who want to have everything. In reality, we will have those who still have the taste and pleasure of collecting stickers, completing the album sticker after sticker attached and the “new collectors” who will perhaps buy box after box just to have the rare sticker and not being particularly interested in the album in the its whole. For now the majority is still the first type of collector, but the forecasts, at least for those who think like us, are not rosy..

The preparation of the album in September allows us to finally have all 32 clubs protagonists of the group stage, including Napoli! Excellent thing if we think about the Match Attax disaster which featured not only players but also teams that do not take part in European competitions on the cover. We could have waited a moment longer to divide the clubs by group, even the alphabetical order with the name of the sports club in front doesn’t work, thinking only of the Italians, Milan is thus at the beginning of the album, Lazio and Napoli much further ahead, being SS and SSC respectively, the teams are known differently, we find it an unnecessary forcing.

The album is nevertheless monumental, perhaps the number of stickers per club should have been limited, 19. Being linked to the Champions League, on the other hand, we are convinced that a work of both quality and quantity is right.

Moreover, the higher number of stickers compared to last year is linked both to the small increase in one sticker per club but also to the presence of those who, for rights reasons, did not appear last year. The problem, if anything, is the graphics of the sticker which is increasingly similar to that of the cards, making the adhesive collection too similar to that of the cards, almost a duplicate. It’s not just a question of the pleasure of attacking or not, but of having two different products in your hand.

Final pages dedicated to the champions of the present and past, the Adidas balls protagonists of the finals and highlight stickers with the key moments. It’s a shame that space isn’t also given to the great matches that characterized the old Champions Cup.

Historical memory is important, even sporting memory, the G.O.A.T page is a nice sight and presents great champions of the (recent) past, aren’t there any names? We anticipate some of them: Buffon, Zanetti, Zidane, Maldini, Ronaldo (the real one), Ronaldinho, etc. Interesting idea here too, but it’s impossible not to dream of even the most historic champions. Record-breaking Real Madrid, Sacchi’s Milan, Grande Inter, Crujff’s Ajax, Nottingham Forest, etc. Maybe it’s old school stuff for Topps.

Complete album? NO. Thanks to the collectors’ report we discovered that the Mbappè sticker is missing, there are perhaps other defections but this one is sensational. Certainly for reasons of image rights and therefore money, other publishers have his sticker so we cannot know where the personal choice originates and where the one imposed by others. Let’s think about the disappointment of children not finding a figurine of one of their absolute idols. Who knows if Mbappè thought about it, who knows what he would have thought when as a child he perhaps opened sachets hoping to find his idols Cristiano Ronaldo, Henry or Ronaldinho. Sometimes it would be better to think less about profit, especially when you don’t really need it, to give greater consideration to the little ones who start to dream in front of a figurine. We all did it, even Mbappe.

The Women’s Champions League appear only in first pages with stickers of top players, it still remains a very rich and compact album (although the card, compared to previous years, seems to have some small defects…) which will delight many fans and enthusiasts with perhaps a more international vision of football. Album to collect, but we anxiously await seeing the stickers in Serie B again, after many years together, of the two historical protagonists of the Calabrian derby: Catanzaro and Cosenza!

(EN)


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