EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 341
album: Calciatori 2023/24 (Panini)
stickers: 876 (1-690, E1-E7, PM1-PM9, CM1-CM70, U1-U80, P1-P20)
starter pack Topolino: album + 4 packets + card limited Lautaro 4,90€
starter pack: album + 3 packets + card limited random 3,00€
box: 80 packets (7+1 stickers per packet) 1,00€ each
blister: 5 packets 5,00€
album hard cover: album + 5 packets 29,90€
packets Reloaded with Sport Week magazine:
3 feb, 9 mar, 13 apr, 15 jun
update (Upgrade) from march 2024 18,00€
album Celebration: from may 2024
Welcome back flagship! A great Latin American writer spoke of life suspended between one World Cup and another, for many sticker collectors the passage of time is dictated between one Footballers album and the next, as if nothing was happening around them.
Luckily the world of stickers is much more than the Calciatori album. However, it is undeniable that if it is true that all roads lead to Rome, then the whole world of our little paper friends must deal with this historic, unparalleled, loved and criticized collection, a reference for hundreds of thousands of collectors and millions of fans. of football.
For those who follow our reviews (there are many of you and we can only thank you) the scheme with which we present a collection is very clear, in this case we thought of doing something slightly different, aware that ours is an opinion and is not law nor can we take it for granted that the majority thinks the same.
4 pages confirmed, a formula that has been repeated in recent years and which, in general, we find positive. It is an optimal way to present the clubs, the page with the most important players is beautiful and the next one is more varied and, on a graphic level, has greater impact. Although we challenge you to think the same way after completing the first two pages, full of stickers is something else entirely.
There are some differences compared to the 2022/23 Players, in the first two pages per club there are 20 player stickers compared to 22 last year; in reality each team is presented with the same number of members of the squad, two of these have simply been moved to the following pages and are part of the large number of updated stickers. We will return to this point.
Furthermore, after the little appreciated choice of 2023, the team sticker is back, even if the name almost seems more like a type of grilled meat than 11 footballers and a ball… maybe it’s just our endless predilection for good food! These first two pages are essential, without additions, almost reminiscent of the albums of the good times.
Panini’s solution to not bring the album to 1000 stickers is clearly also to limit the extras, the consequence of this is the stickers of the shirts which over the years we have had in some cases only the first one, then also the away one, sometimes even the third, this year nothing. We are fans of stadium stickers but sometimes unsuitable photos are chosen. Of course, only three stickers to attach (coach and the two potential top players), not counting the novelty of the updates, seems a bit small to us, from the point of view of attaching stickers, from that of the whole the result is not bad.
Essential but effective statistical data; opening the Roma page we have some doubts whether perhaps a mistake was made, repeating the photo twice, albeit different, of Romelu Lukaku and not of the second special sticker dedicated to the world champion Paulo Dybala.
Serie A which as a whole is always a nice sight, it’s a shame that the scoreboards have disappeared; not finding peace in recent years, moved to various parts of the albums, on this occasion they were not placed. Do you want to know which teams Candreva played for before living a second youth in Salerno? Buy the Panini Almanac… maybe that’s the hidden answer they don’t tell us.
The return to separate stickers is excellent, after last year’s quadruplets. Completing the album is also and above all pleasure and the main pleasure is attaching the stickers. Why limit it? Even at the expense of one less player, in fact the players in the junior series go from 16 to 15. Patience, especially if to the advantage of the presence of the team sticker which, in our opinion, is tradition and duty of every football album that is respects, Celebration or other extra gadgets that can be invented.
The choice to put the coach’s photo in black and white is curious, especially when the page is completed it risks seeming like something separate. To the point of asking ourselves if, at this point, it wasn’t perhaps better to just insert the name, in reality it was enough to put the color photo!
The much maligned third series regains a little space and it is a pleasure to find the clubs both with the shield sticker, in a larger format, and with that of the team. A choice that we applaud even if it had meant sacrificing some Serie A stickers.
Italian football is not only the big clubs but also the Serie C clubs, among which we also have great pieces of sporting history, such as Alessandria, Vicenza, Novara, Padova, Pro Vercelli, Triestina, Ancona, Cesena, Perugia, Pescara, Spal , Messina, Avellino, Catania, Foggia, Taranto and the list would be long.
It is right to give credit to a legend like Gigi Buffon, true number 1, this year also in the Calciatori numbering. No comment on the 7 Esport stickers which are not football, but something else. Stickers certainly appreciated by the very young, to us it seems to have taken away space for something else and honestly we tremble at the mere idea of finding similar pages in a future Olympics album! Let’s not joke please… but in a world where business matters more than logic, perhaps we can just resign ourselves.
Players and coaches of the month confirmed, yes. “The most loved Panini” was a nice idea, as a novelty, to be repeated less every year, at least in our opinion. For example, instead of these or the stickers of the joystick phenomena we would have given double space to the Women’s Serie A, for example adding those of the championships to the team stickers.
The stickers numbered P1-P20, part of the CM and PM, E1-E7 are found inside the Reloaded packets distributed with Sportweek/Gazzetta dello Sport.
As many as 80 stickers of which, from what we read in the album, in the set there will also be other variant stickers as happened last year. The wide choice allows for at least two new players per team, so as to be able to insert, in the team pages, any surprises from the club’s starting squad that were not initially foreseen as protagonists. In the central part of the album the classic pages of Calcio Mercato.
The question is legitimate, the answer is obvious for many. Are stickers and cards not included in the album pages part of the collection? Do they really make it complete? Maybe yes maybe no. In our opinion, an album that has no empty spaces should be considered complete, the rest is pleasure and desire or collector’s fever. The problem is that so many of us suffer from collecting fever.
This year we applaud one editorial proposal, we severely reject another. We like the solution of the coupons in each sachet which are used for the virtual albums of Serie C and Femminile (which can then also be requested in the paper version) but which, great news, are also stickers. Slogans and writings that celebrate the 40 Serie A and B teams can become a nice gadget for diaries, notebooks, etc. but which can be collected in their entirety without crazy expenses and without, we believe, great effort.
We also have the audacity to propose a hypothesis: in the pages of A as well as those of B, the upper right part of the second page (for Series A) is essentially empty. It would not surprise us if someone, especially children, attached these slogan stickers in this area. Indeed, without the need to number them, perhaps Panini itself could have created special spaces.
A completely different story for the 10 “Goal machines” cards, which if they had been found in products intended for newsstands at an acceptable cost could have had their own reason. Instead, three of these can only be purchased online on the Panini website (and many greetings to the newsstands that have been the fortune of the Modena company for more than half a century) but above all connected to the special boxes of 100 packets.
Therefore, if the collector wanted them all, he would still have to spend 300 euro for 3 card. Do you think one day this complete set will allow you to take a holiday in the Maldives? Because in these terms for 90% of cases it will only attract those aiming for a future profit; our advice is to allocate your funds elsewhere.
These limited or parallel or limited editions, if you prefer, were already present last year and in the World Cup collection, true but they were not contemplated anywhere or almost nowhere. This year they are an integral part of the advertising of the Calciatori collection. In previous years, people were not encouraged to buy the starter pack three times to have three different cards only to then discover that it takes a fortune to complete the set. We don’t like it and we don’t even think it’s correct and above all it opens up disturbing possible future scenarios.
The Calciatori album is like the San Remo Festival, one edition isn’t finished yet and we’re already working on the next one. In Modena they are already thinking about 2025 and these market surveys must, we hope, have a clearly negative response so that the multinational possibly takes a step back.
Or we see an abyss in front of us, that is, the same stickers to complete the album could, in a not too distant future, become part of these modern formulas and only for a few who will be liked so much by Panini, perhaps even by certain collectors (dealers) but not to the general public or at least not to us.
Another important aspect is that Panini carries out information and communication work in order to make everyone understand that the cost per sticker has actually dropped. 7+1 stickers at 1 euro, compared to the previous 5 at 0.80. It is essential or the parent or the occasional user or the one already dissatisfied with other choices will only see the increase in the cost of the sachet without knowing exactly the contents.
Another matter is the passage of the boxes from 100 to 80 packets, it could be hypothesized that the choice was dictated by the higher number of stickers which therefore could not be included in the traditional box of recent years. In reality this is not true, the thickness of the stickers is similar to that used for other recent collections, not optimal for the flagship, honestly. The coupon itself is no longer cardboard but a sticker; essentially there was space for the 100-capacity garage. But for an album that has around 700 stickers, it would have practically meant the possibility of completing the album or almost… and then the “indispensable” offer (for them) of the exclusive box on the Panini website would have disappeared.
The quality of the paper is not of the highest quality not only for the stickers but also for the album, a custom that has almost always been present in recent years, without taking into account the age-old and repeated problem of the risk of losing the central pages. Meanwhile, the hardback album has gone from 20 to 30 euros in two years, let’s hope they at least avoid the mocking “solo” next to the sales price on a promotional level.
Album in general that does not disappoint, stickers that look more and more like cards, now they also speak, but if on the one hand we see our being (perhaps) old as an advantage, on the other we are aware that we need to know how to attract even the most young. After all, if we live in the era of half-empty stadiums and people who only watch highlights and not entire matches, the sticker album of the most loved sport in the world cannot suffer any consequences.