Topps wins? Yes and no, surely this new Champions League album is very rich and varied, but there are positive aspects as well as other negative ones, we will try to make the analysis as complete as possible. Going through the details of the collection and, you can’t do otherwise, comparing it with the football collections on sale at the moment, one above all, of course: the Panini World Cup album. Important analysis also considering that Topps will publish Euro 2024.
In a difficult phase from an economic point of view like this, undoubtedly Topps beats the competition by still offering a 1 euro packet with 10 stickers while Panini at the same price offers exactly half of the stickers inside. The quality seems quite similar to us but the cost difference is so huge that the American house wins hands down: Topps 1 Panini 0.
For a long time, we have been pointing out the gaps in the quality of several sticker albums with peeling center pages, folds and rather low-grade paper. The Champions album, on the other hand, confirms last year’s prowess, it should be checked completed but it looks absolutely good, you can also see it from its weight. Complimentary albums are welcome for those who just want to attach some stickers, but for others, if the mediation is to pay for the album (this actually costs 3 euros), it is welcome if this is the result. Without ifs and buts. Topps 2 Panini 0.
Game over? No, the Milan fans still have nightmares of a famous Champions League final that seemed to have already been won. Here too, as we have noted the merits, some defects must be pointed out, even quite evident.
The album is certainly the richest in the history of the Champions League, both in terms of the total number of stickers, both in terms of setting and in terms of columns. But can an album be defined as rich without all the leading clubs? Especially considering that one of these is Italian and at the moment he is showing great football in Europe: Napoli is not present in the collection. And he is not the only one, there are 7 teams that do not find space in the initial part of the album: Benfica, Dinamo Zagreb, Rangers Glasgow, Copenhagen, Viktoria Plzen, Maccabi Haifa and precisely Napoli.
We had already seen something similar in recent years, the substantial final part of the album with the updates affects these teams, to these 96 stickers are added 20 dedicated to players who have changed shirts. This choice and the general one to put the clubs in alphabetical order (and not only .. if you are looking for Milan do not go to M ..) does not convince us. So, Topps 2 Panini 1.
Last year, with great difficulty, someone managed to complete the album with the “live” L stickers, the “championship film” version of the Champions League was released on unannounced dates, immediately sold out and many find themselves with the album incomplete. Topps’ solution? Make a separate album, so those interested can (try to) order all the stickers, others can settle for the basic set. It does not drive us crazy as a solution, especially considering that the updated stickers, mentioned above, can also be ordered only on the internet and the Topps website, based in England, manages to be indigestible even to the most patient people. Above all, either for their limits, or for any (all to be demonstrated) looting by collectors, the L stickers last year were practically unavailable immediately. Not allowing newsstands to have at least the stickers updated (even by reservation only and aimed only at a small number of newsstands) will be a form of savings for Topps but it kills the local and basic market, which, although opposed by many publishers, still manages to have a good share of the market compared to the much loved (by others, not by us) market of the web. So although with all the flaws of the Panini site, there is an air of balance, Topps 2 Panini 2.
We liked the idea of the shield format of the players’ stickers last year and it is welcome that it has been repeated. Of course, it minimizes the information on the player but for that there is the part already printed in the album. The lightning and thunder effect as a background is tired in the long run, but it is still an alternative solution to the single-color of other collections. Each club has 18 stickers, perhaps for the first time we do not find those of jerseys, stadiums and above all badges, all printed in the album, as well as the photos of the coaches, however a nice novelty to find them on the album too. 16 players plus two extras, the great promise and a double with the great champions of the club, for PSG we find Neymar and Messi, for example.
From sticker 477 begins the second part of the album, quite interesting because it not only offers the current top players but in some pages we have the opportunity to find great champions of the past. For the Italians, the Milan players Baresi, Inzaghi and Maldini, as well as Del Piero. Mentioned but not present in the Francesco Totti album, too bad. Collectors of Messi’s stickers will be happy, there are several in the album, next year if it goes on like this it could be the same for Haaland. It is still a rich and rather valid part, although linked to recent years, perhaps due to rights of some kind. Finding samples from the 1960s to the 1980s would have been a significant added value.
“The global game”, “Best of the Best”, “All time records”, “UCL Legends”, a part of the album that will please especially the lovers of great champions despite the pleasure of finding the stickers of many supporting actors. “Dream Team” is the page to be completed with your doubles according to your tastes, “Top Superstars” with the best of women’s UCL, just 6 stickers but it is already something more substantial than in the past.
Challenging but competitive album in terms of economic proposal, not considering the extra album with Live stickers. Euro 2024 is still a long way off, but we believe Topps is also doing some market tests, that will be a unique opportunity not to be missed. The fact remains that after the fears of seeing the classic adhesive stickers reduced in a mini album regarding F1, with the Champions League we return to hope that the American house still believes in this classic product and does not work only to reset it in favor of modern ones card.
We have already said about the stickers, the format is not a novelty, the second part is interesting with the stickers that refer to the heading to which they are connected. The most avid collectors have launched on parallel packs where to find the variant stickers (in color), a new fashion that is catching on, partly thanks to the publishers, a little so much for the buyers who follow this formula and us, honestly, it continues to convince little.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2021/22 (Topps)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 222
album: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2021/22 (Topps)
stickers: 756 (1-644, L1-L104, LE S1-LE S8)
starter pack: album + 2 packets + 2 stickers LE S1 e S2 3,99€
multi pack: 8 packets + 2 stickers LE 7,99€
tin box: 9 packets + 4 stickers LE 9,99€
box: 50 packets (10 stickers) 1,00€ each
And now how? Years ago someone suggested we do an article comparing a Panini album with a Topps one to show how much the difference was in favor of Panini. If we were to do it now, they wouldn’t be very happy. The criticisms were finally heard and Topps responded in a big way. Delayed output due to problems with the format of the stickers? If this is the result, delays are welcome!
In reality, the beginning is not the best, the first 34 stickers celebrate the past editions of the Champions League, an image with the cup already seen and avoidable, even if Topps must be given credit for having clearly made them more captivating, especially compared to the previous ones. text is easily readable.
The situation is already improving with the next 32 stickers, which show the championships of all the clubs participating in the final phase of the Champions League. It is not a small detail, it makes it clear that finally Topps has made the album as all collectors were asking, no longer the teams arriving from the playoffs relegated to the bottom but in their place, that is in the reference group, in this way between the other all clubs have the same number of stickers and the same presentation within the album.
The pages dedicated to clubs are appreciated for their graphics, presenting interesting news that differ from the albums of Calciatori, Champions, World Cups or Europeans of the last 30 years, perhaps even more. In fact, the players’ stickers do not have the classic square or rectangular format but an interesting scudetto format. This choice seems to be the cause of the delay in the release of the album, hopefully not in the costs, as we would not want it to be a detail that will not be repeated in the future.
In this way the sticker becomes essential, the rest of the information about the players can be found in the printed part of the album. Of the 16 footballers, the captain’s card is special shiny. However, it is not clear to us why for some teams the photo is a bust while for others it is only a shot of the face. As you can see from the images, the players are already printed on the album, a solution that some like, but we don’t like it too much as it takes a little off the curiosity of discovering the sticker. Although now the photos are sent by the clubs and therefore are the same that we also find in other publications.
In the album there are other interesting details, in addition to the 16 players we find 4 other stickers, two giants with the top players of the clubs reminiscent of the Match Attax cards with the technical characteristics of the footballer, the others are the puzzle sticker of the stadium. Finally! Stadiums are the home of football and fans, right celebrate them. Beautiful printed images of the uniforms, we would have renounced the first 34 stickers of the past seasons to maybe transform the main shirt into a shaped card. The space dedicated to the coach is also commendable, even in this case a sticker would not have been a bad thing, but the album is already long enough and it may not have been contemplated. Or you could make a double card by joining 2 rrainers from the various clubs. Maybe it’s a tip for next year.
Having reached this point, the album is already very complete, with no less than 644 stickers, including the last two dedicated to women’s football. Instead Topps goes further and creates a central part of the album with Live stickers that oblige fans to follow the exclusive releases on the web month after month. Referring to the Topps Now cards, we find 104 numbered stickers L showing the highlights of the most important matches of the season and 24 update stickers for the players who changed their shirts, an absolute novelty for a Champions League album. They will not be released in packets on newsstands but will be on sale on the Topps website starting from December and thereafter from February to June 2022. It is not clear at the moment if a complete set will be on sale at the end of the season.
It is not over yet, in the album we find 8 limited edition stickers that become doubly necessary, as the sticky part above is added to the part below which is also a limited edition card connected to the Macht Attax collection. Numbered from LE S1 to LE S8 they are not found in the packets, the first two are always in the starter pack, the remaining six are found randomly in the multipack and in the tin box, as was already the case with the F1 collection.
Sticker + Card Limited Edition: S1 Raheem Sterling S2 Erling Haaland S3 Luka Modric S4 Jadon Sancho S5 Trent Alexander-Arnold S6 Leon Goretzka S7 Giorgio Chiellini S8 Gianluigi Donnarumma
Very valid album, worth noting the good quality of the paper used, including the presence of 5 staples so as to make it compact and solid, the exact opposite of what we saw with the Calciatori 2021. Packet price once again very advantageous , 1 euro for 10 stickers. The only drawback, at least in those we have opened, is the presence of 9 normal stickers and one giant. Taking into account that there are only 32 giants, we can predict a multitude of doubles. The hard to find will probably be others.
20 days from our Top Chart of 2021 albums (from 1 December 2020 to 30 November 2021) we can make ourselves a spoiler and say that, without a shadow of a doubt, this is the sports album of the year. Brava Topps!
FIFA365 2022 (Panini)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 218
album: FIFA365 2022 (Panini)
stickers: 419 (1-419)
starter pack: album + 5 packets 3,90€
box: 50 packets (5 stickers per packet) 0,80€ each
What a pleasant surprise! Last year, Fifa365 did not thrill us, far from it, so much so that we thought that this year it could also have been avoided. We are happy we were wrong, Panini makes Panini and sends an album of great value and quality to newsstands. In our 2021 chart a very strong candidate to be the album of the year in the sports category.
We start from a starting point, we often forget that we are talking about stickers and that therefore these must be the first protagonists. They must be beautiful, varied, special, original. Often it does not happen, this is not the case, the stickers are undoubtedly a great sight, we’ll be back at the end of the review.
First and long part of the album dedicated to big clubs. A choice that we appreciate, no introductory pages which, like last year, did not give the right rhythm, but immediately players, clubs and passion. Each team has 20 players and 5 special large stickers, logo, shirt, “designer” ball, star player and rising star. Beautiful graphics on the pages, no stickers of the stadium but a large photo that is dusting.
The choice of how to present the players is appreciable, reminiscent of the last European but with much better graphics, basic notions, not an invasion of information on the card that takes up space; role, date of birth and nationality are enough. Background with club and stadium colors.
Among the other stickers, the glitter logo is in relief, dominates the page and is at the opposite end of the photo of the stadium, they are the two cornerstones of the pages. Star Player and Rising Star owe a lot to the Adrenalyn collection, only they stand out even more in the figurine, at least we see it that way. Among the printed statistics, we like those where the various nationalities of the players are listed, the total number of trophies won, combining national and international competitions, is also interesting.
Could different choices be made on the teams present? In part perhaps yes, it is clear that Panini must aim for strong markets, but without wanting to take anything away from some countries, at least one Portuguese club would have been good. Then there is the old obsession of having a club from the American MLS and the Japanese J-League, sooner or later maybe we will have them.
Second part of the album equally significant, dedicated mainly to the FIFA world, with the news, not only the clubs, but the national teams. At this point, making it a must album even for those who buy those related only to World Cups, Europeans or Copa America. Also because here we have the best of international football: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy plus Qatar which will host the next World Cup. Opener of this sector are the posters of the World Cup from the first in Uruguay in 1930, although they are featured on so many albums, we can’t get enough of them.
Striped stickers are now a classic of recent years, just try to differentiate the product from the classic album of football players and international competitions. By the way, the special horizontal sticker where the player is represented both bust and in action is exciting, as was the case in the 1970s albums. So let us dream, is it the prelude to a sensational change of graphics in Calciatori 2022? It doesn’t happen .. but if it happens ..
To fill the album there are other interesting pages, the Club World Cup, reduced to one page, a good choice to give space to more and the last page with the other Fifa trophies. Too bad women’s football has disappeared, but the lack of international competitions pays off. Compared to previous years, fewer columns, so be it, in this way we have some players not repeated four or five times, with all due respect to those who (we are not among those) would like ten different stickers of Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi in each album. If we have to give a value to Panini it is the commitment to always change FIFA365, year after year, sometimes in an unfortunate way (see last year), sometimes hitting the goal like this year.
At the beginning we were talking about stickers, if FIFA365 is a testing ground for future projects in the main albums, then we have something to be excited and happy. It is not just a question of quality, but of variety, graphics and choices. A successful mix of classic images and novelties, referring to the Adrenalyn cards and proposing stickers that are already present in the Panini albums linked to the various national championships. In the photo above, especially the stickers of Harry Kane and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are really beautiful!
At the moment we only have news of a different edition for the Serbian market with the stickers, numbered B of Red Star and Partizan Belgrade.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2020/21 (Topps)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 154 stickers: 582 (numbering per team) starter pack: album + 3 packets € 3.90 packets: € 1.00 (10 stickers)
The long-awaited Champions League album was also released in Italy. The latest one made by Topps? These are the rumors of “radio figurine”, we will see. It certainly doesn’t look like a farewell album (just think of the havoc of the latest Topps albums on the Premier League), instead it is made in an interesting way, even with some flaws, some repeated over the years.
The mother of all problems is always that of the layout of the album, being linked to a specific tournament, the division of the clubs for the various groups is greatly missed. The order of the teams is by country, Spain, England, Italy, Germany, France, Russia, followed by all the others. Or rather the few others because the clubs from the play-offs are relegated to the bottom of the album in cold and abstract pages.
Too bad because the graphic layout of the other pages is interesting, large photos of two (or three) top players, valid captions to learn about the history of the club in the Champions League and in the national championship of the previous year. Graphics that are not repeated the same in the most photographic part, for some clubs we have two champions compared, in others the trio of the most prolific scorers of the previous season, for others the historical graphics of the last 10 years.
Another particular caption is that relating to the 20 players team by team where the first appearance in the major European competition is highlighted, this also involves a lot of “debut season” writings.
The page is completed by the special badge of the club and the giant one of a top player, compared to last year we no longer find the stickers of the stadiums and the kits are printed directly in the album.
The pages of the teams coming from the POF cannot be commented on, frankly they are small, certainly they have a different effect with the stickers attached, but it remains an absolutely questionable choice, even if it is true that this year, due to Covid, the qualifications lasted longer. expected. After all, even the club squads are dated and this is even more annoying if you want. While understanding the technical times for printing stickers, an album as important as that of the Champions League should be treated better.
In a period where there is so much interest in the new stars of world football, the “rising stars” page with players from the main European leagues is an apt choice, the Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni representing Serie A and Italian football.
Already used in the past, also by Panini for Fifa365 and also for Euro2020 Preview, the numbering of stickers by team and theme has no advantage other than a useless complication in collecting the album. We don’t like it, maybe others think differently.
A key note is Topps’ choice to offer a packet for 1.00 euro with 10 stickers, a policy also followed in the Topps album of F1 and the Bundesliga. Devastating impact on the “figurine” market, really interesting and excellent choice. We hope others follow the line, especially in albums where the quality of the stickers is similar or sometimes even worse. Another detail is the quality of the album paper, good when compared to that of other albums of this period.
If Topps is quitting the Champions League (all to be verified), let’s say he’s leaving the competition with a certain style. If it continues, we hope it will finally know how not to repeat some errors and settings that collectors have been complaining about since 2016.
FIFA365 2021 (Panini)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 146 album: FIFA365 2021 (Panini) stickers: 449 (1-449) starter pack: album + 5 packets € 3.90 packet: € 0.80 (5 stickers)
Like every year, yes and not of the Fifa 365 album. Season after season in fact Panini limits something but adds more, certainly you won’t get bored. Let’s go in order, it is assumed the return of the Champions League to Panini and consequent closure of this collection, but in every month of October Fifa365 returns to newsstands.
Of course, this is a FIFA album, the Champions would be a UEFA album but if the clubs presented are almost always “the usual” it is difficult to believe these two albums can coexist if printed by the same publisher.
If we remove the major leagues, there are very few clubs left in the world of football. Also this year we have three English clubs (Liverpool, Manchester City and United), three Spanish clubs (Atletico, Barcelona, Real Madrid), three German clubs (Bayern, Borussia D., Schalke 04), three Italian clubs (Inter, Juventus , Lazio), two French clubs (Marseille and PSG), from the other countries only Ajax, Boca Juniors, Corinthians and Club America.
Little, very little, the list of European missing is significant (primarily the portuguese and the russians) but on the rest of the world we are close to nothing. Just three clubs. It is difficult to think that local editions will be released en masse like in 2016, only the Balkan edition with the S1-S63 stickers of Stella Rossa, Partizan and Maribor is already certain. We could hypothesize an edition with additional South American teams, but last year in Brazil the album was not really released (only the cards), so hopes are vain.
Positive is the presence of 20 players (although updates would be needed ..) divided into 10 stickers, being the large format the quality is not affected. To these must be added 5 extra stickers, golden shield and line-up. This along the lines of what has already been seen in the Adrenalyn of Euro2020, honestly a sticker that does not scream a miracle. Club’s Lifestyle is an interesting sticker, it is different from team to team (for example the mascot or the tunnel to enter the field, etc.), photos of the squad and a jump in the 80s with the flag sticker like American colleges and the club nickname.
Next to this we have 6 “in action” stickers of the top players with indications of the individual qualities. Each “in action” page contains three teams, a valid choice because it allows you to have the three English, three Italian, etc. together.
Over the years, the most original and interesting parts of Fifa365 have always been the additional pages, the real heart of the album. We have decided to divide them into two blocks:
The Golden World – The opening page with the man records around the world, already seen but always pleasant to find Planet Football – the Fifa Museum must be visited at least once in a lifetime
Fifa eWorld Cup – Two pages for the version of the videogames WORLD CUP are really excessive, especially putting these “champions” at the beginning of the album seems a very poor choice. Then maybe it is us who are old and the youngest will appreciate .. mah! Official Posters – Not being a World Cup album, the stickers of the posters from Uruguay 1930, used on a thousand other occasions, seem only a mere filler Six Years – The stickers of the covers of the six Fifa365 albums (including this one) do not really understand their meaning or charm. Unless it’s goodbye to this collection
Final part, very short, dedicated to the rest of the FIFA world, in reality only the U17 World Cup and the Beach Soccer World Cup. Ok the lack of tournaments, but the total lack (it seems to us) of women’s football stands out. The page dedicated to the world championship for clubs is embarrassing after the good pages in past editions.
Some more details:
. also for this year, no reference to the year on the back of the stickers, just to help the collector, was it so hard to write 2021 somewhere?
. with all the sympathy one can have for Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio, this year it was right and proper to include Atalanta. An unforgivable mistake
. the increasingly pressing use of the computer to fix photos does not always lead to good results, quite the contrary
. really in Panini have not found a better photo of Cristiano Ronaldo? The one in the center of the Juventus page reminds us of certain films about nerds of the 80s
Fifa365 has lost much of its charm over the years, too bad
FIFA365 2020 (Panini)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE REVIEWS nr. 81
stickers: 448 (1-448)
starter pack: € 5.90 (album + 7 packets)
packets: € 0.80 (5 stickers)
box: 50 packets
comment: normally the review is carried out after going to newsstands to buy the album and the first box, in this case instead all the packets were opened first and by making them right can only confirm the beauty of this album.
The Panini Fifa365 can have different interpretations, it is an anomalous album because it is not connected to any precise competition or paradoxically it is connected to all. Now that Panini has taken the rights to the Premier League, we have the elite of European football, as much as the official Champions League album: 4 English teams, 3 Spanish, 3 German, 3 Italian, etc.
If anything, this has limited the presence of other clubs that would have made the joy of many fans, we do not find teams from Belgium, Portugal, Turkey, northern Europe, etc. The door to South America is always fascinating, to underline the presence of the Mexican club Monterrey next to the two Argentinian and the two Brazilians, a little bit to tell the truth, but it is understandable the choice to privilege the teams that in Europe have greater following .
On South America, moreover, the hope is always that, one day, Panini will be able to make the Copa Libertadores album, incredible that apart from some amateur production, the most fascinating tournament in the world doesn’t have its own sticker album!
Speaking of clubs, being a world album, it is impossible not to notice the lack of MLS, J League and Chinese Super League clubs. Without wanting to give marketing lessons, extending the album to Chinese teams could implement the sticker tour in a huge market. From the outside it does not even seem so complicated, just think that Panini, holder of the rights of Inter, with the Chinese property could (we believe) easily ask to include in the album the Suning, where among other things they play footballers known also in Europe like Eder and Miranda.
Having said that the album remains very nice, each team has as many as 33 stickers, they are in large part half as the Serie B of the Calciatori, but in reality they are images larger than the standard. In addition to sweaters and badges, a special motion for the “Living Football” figurines, holographic and of great visual impact. Panini continues to present the stickers in action in blocks of three players, a valuable but not fundamental choice, among other things being 9 elements are not even a complete team. From collectors better without favoring some more clubs.
The album, however, has clearly improved compared to the previous editions, minus single thematic stickers (in the past we also had albums with 6-7 Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi repeated in various forms ..), the last pages see a summary of the world championship per club, fortunately the pages dedicated to the women’s world championship and to that of U20 played in Poland remain.
Also this year we have some variants in certain countries, where we find 442 instead of 448 stickers (those from 5 to 10 are missing, so pay attention to the double numbering!), there are the inevitable extra teams: Crvena Zvezda, Partizan and Maribor (Serbia / Sovenia edition), Young Boys (Swiss edition), with possible further additions and to find out if there are differences in the South American edition.
It is an album that you either love or don’t understand, one wonders what will happen to Panini, if anything, one day he will come back to print the Champions League (a far hypothesis at the moment), for now it remains a very pleasant album to browse and with the possibility of have teams that we rarely find together.
Improved quality, some good ideas, others to review, a nice preview of the Calciatori and Premier League albums scheduled for release at the end of December.
Final judgment: 8,5/10
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2019/20 (Topps)
EDICOLA NEWS: THE
REVIEWS nr. 78
stickers: 595 (1-595)
starter pack: € 3.50 (album + 5 packets + poster)
packets: € 0.70 (5 stickers)
comment: allow a premise, as an Italian seeing a Champions League album start with Atalanta is a source of pride as well as a pleasure. Having the Bergamo team as before allows us to note the first new, the teams are presented in alphabetical order and not divided by country. It is already a step forward compared to the past.
The problem remains of once again having the album not divided into Champions League groups with the teams coming from the playoffs relegated to the last pages of the album. With the new rules at least the teams of the main leagues have dedicated pages, but from football fans, even the so-called “minor” teams deserve the same consideration.
Each team of the first 26 is presented with 19 stickers, a wonderful novelty the glittering stadium stickers, really unexpected and much appreciated. The badges have a much larger sticker format (be careful, not the clubs from the play-offs), the others are small, but the complete pages are a pretty sight.
Updated teams, so as to have, for example, Lukaku and Sanchez at Inter.
The background of the stickers is the same for all the teams and this is not really a happy choice. It makes the whole album a little too repetitive. Top Scorer with sticker in action and in each captain of teams we have glitter stickers.
The paper quality of the sticker is rather poor, they are really very light (close the window if you sit down to attach them), when we think about the cost of a packet we must also always take these parameters into account.
Unlike last year there are no extra stickers in the Italian edition. Different covers in different parts of Europe, have fun finding them all!
In general the
album has improved compared to the past but you can do even more for an album
as important as the Champions League.
Final judgment: 7,5/10 (one more point for the stadium stickers)