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FIFA WORLD CLASS 2024 (Panini)

EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 352

album: World Class 2024 (Panini)

stickers: 384 (1-384)
starter pack: album + 4 packets 4,95€
box: 36 packets (5 stickers per packet) 1,00€ each
blister: 5 packets 4,90€

Inside the upcoming Easter egg, we found a nice gift. When Panini remembers that it is Panini, products that are truly above average often arrive on newsstands. Perhaps a smart choice but certainly effective. Having lost the UEFA rights (after the Champions League also the European Championships since last year), the Modena company enters the sticker market with a straight leg.

It does so with a well thought-out product, not an abstract album on the best teams in Europe, taking advantage of the rights it holds, but a different solution. Just as we lost the Champions League, we saw the birth of the best international football album, Fifa365 (even if it has become less attractive over the years), so it does the same with the national teams. Competition is lifeblood, Panini has a staff of graphic designers and minds who know how to do their job, just, as in this case, give it a certain push and say “Can’t we make the official album of the competition? We make a different one, not a copy, putting in the best of football.”

Clearly this is a lame argument for those who, of us many, collect all the European albums, therefore, inevitably, they will make the official one, despite seeing the many defects already shown on social media. Also because this is a Fifa album, it is not UEFA, there are no past or future national European champions, there are world champions, all of them.

Speaking of lame albums, this one is not. All the national teams involved have the official uniform: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, England, Italy, Spain, Uruguay. A sublime pleasure for the eyes but also an indication to UEFA (or FIFA in the future) that an agreement must be found to protect fans and collectors, to always have the official uniforms, regardless of who holds the rights. Ours is probably a romantic and vintage vision, but we won’t stay silent.

One would like to say that if Panini is able to make a quality album, why not always do it, even with World Cup albums, for example, which are often not very intriguing? Meanwhile, we also like tradition, secondly we have 8 teams here, in 2026 at the World Cup we will have 48! It is impossible to do otherwise, indeed, it could happen that the number of footballers per nation will be limited compared to now or perhaps the “minor” teams will return to having double stickers like the albums until the 1990s.

The release of the album is not even a coincidence, it is 50 years since the first FIFA World Cup, Munchen ’74. In fact, the Rimet Cup was definitively assigned to Brazil in 1970. Of course it is an excuse, the first pages rightly tell of all the editions of the World Cup, starting from the first in Uruguay in 1930. A choice that we like is the presence, even if only in photographs, of the other finalist teams, equally unforgettable squads over the years, just think of Puskas’s Hungary in 1954 and the Netherlands by Crujiff from 1974,

Thanks to the rights of Panini, the eight shields of the national champions are all together passionately, a beautiful page to see completed, in the face of those who prefer not to attach the stickers, but it is not the only one. The album is a logical path based on the number of World Cups won, so it starts with Brazil and ends with Spain.

The collection is a mix between the Fifa365 setting and our Footballers, with 4 pages for each nation. In the first two the more or less current formation of the team; looking at our home country, Italy seems more truthful to us than the one presented in the Topps Match Attax cards, clearly also net of the unpredictable injuries, as recently happened to Domenico Berardi. Here there is space for the classic bust stickers, in a larger format than Qatar 2022 (obviously, the album is also larger) and clearly superior in terms of graphics. The detail of the flag waving from behind the players is beautiful, minimal details, an effective black background, perhaps simple but you guessed it.

The last two pages of the teams are more varied, reminiscent of Calciatori. The most significant players are shown again in action, with even special, double stickers, which wink at card lovers, given the somewhat sui generis characterizations… like rock n roll or other terms that we of the old guard leave a little perplexed. We like the lower part of the page with the “teardrop” stickers with the possible starting line-up, a graphic solution already seen with Euro2016 for example, but this format is much more effective and above all integrates with the rest. However, they are all still valid solutions for making the album tempting for multiple generations and making it with an average total number of stickers, without exaggerating.

What about other nations? Panini also pays homage to the founders of FIFA in 1904, therefore the stickers of the 7 founding national teams find space in the last part of the album, choosing the team that obtained the best placing in a final phase of the World Cup: Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Therefore, it is 50 years since the first edition of the FIFA World Cup but it is also 120 years since the foundation of the association. For lovers of variations, the Portuguese edition also features pages with the stickers of the Portuguese national team, numbered from P1 to P28. Of course there is also the Cristiano Ronaldo sticker, as far as it is possible to know, it’s a shame that homage was not paid to Eusebio.

Being also a celebratory album, fortunately there is no shortage of references to those who were the absolute protagonists of world football, 17 stickers of absolute legends that will make collectors of the themes happy and which is always a pleasure to attach to an album, to remember, to love, impossible get them all together and above all get them all to agree: Batistuta, Beckenbauer, Beckham, Buffon, Cafù, Cannavaro, Djorkaeff, Forlan, Iniesta, Klose, Maradona, Matthaus, Pelè, Pirlo, Ronaldo, Rooney, Xavi. Pelè and Beckenbauer aside, the choice was made to include only players from the last 30 years or so.
Among the English, for example, Beckham and Rooney don’t seem to have ever really left their mark at a World Cup, not remembering a legend like Bobby Moore and any champion of ’66 is a serious shortcoming. As well as putting three Italian champions from 2006 and none from 1982. Assuming that they only considered the players who were protagonists of the post-Rimet Cup editions, therefore from 1974. Pelè aside, but not having O’ Rey would have been truly sensational.

Last page interesting only in perspective, with the potential champions of the future and therefore the possible rookie card of the player wearing the national team shirt, assuming one does not already exist. Will the expectations be confirmed? We’ll see at the 2026 World Cup or the next one in 2030.

Well-made album, stickers above average quality from Panini itself, very light but still light years away from the Qatar 2022 disaster. Some doubts about the choice of orange as the reference color, some texts are difficult to read. In our opinion, an album to have for all collectors of World Cup albums, but it is difficult to think that it could have an annual sequel, unless the approach is changed. It makes you think that it could also be the precursor to the album on the Club World Cup, expected at the end of the season. Thinking only of Italy, with Inter and Juventus present, Panini are certainly thinking about it, in fact they have probably already decided.

If the idea was to hit the market with an album that would annihilate Topps’s album on Europeans, the results will probably prove Panini right. Apart from those who, as we have written, will collect the American house’s album for the sake of completeness. We are among them, but we are also the ones who, in the end, will do both.

(EN)


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