The 2022 World Cup was one of the most memorable in the history of this storied event. That is one of the few things every soccer fan can agree on. Off the field, it was often controversial and sometimes downright messy. Qatar is an autocratic country with a religiously fundamental government. They also allegedly used slave labor in inhumane conditions to build those incredible stadiums. Most traumatic of all, they banned beer consumption in the stadiums! Talk about a human rights violation.
But there was so much magic on the pitch that it's almost hard to recall all the great moments. Without a doubt, the one moment no one will forget was when Lionel Messi finally got to lift that elusive trophy that turned him from an all-time great into an indisputable GOAT. Meanwhile, Messi's main rival for greatness, Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo had an atrocious tournament. The superstar was benched for the last two Portugal games. Even more embarrassing, "A Seleção" looked better without him.
But there was also so much more. Argentina didn't just sail to victory. On the way, they experienced one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history by losing to Saudi Arabia 2-1 in the group stage. But at least the "Sky Blue" survived to compensate for that surprising defeat. Unfortunately, other big teams were not so lucky. Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Germany bowed out far earlier than expected. Meanwhile, Morocco was the Cinderella story of the tournament, stunning the world by advancing to the semi-finals. Amazingly, they didn't allow an opponent to score a single goal until losing to France.
And as always, the most exciting part for fans was discovering new talent. The "beautiful game" seems to produce an unprecedented number of brilliant youngsters. And many of them shone in Qatar, most notably Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands and Jude Bellingham of England.
World Cup 2022 Cards
Enough with the cheesy nostalgia. We are here for the cards. The good news for collectors is that this was an unforgettable tournament for all the above reasons. Therefore, the strong cards related to Qatar +2022 will grow in value over the years. Indeed, considering the soccer cards hobby has massive potential for growth, that is almost a certainty.
But what are the best cards this tournament has to offer? Here are the elite starting nine.
2022 Panini Instant Lionel Messi Waving World Cup Auto 1/1 #118
No sale on record
I know, I know. You are thinking: it's a Panini Instant card, so how good can it be? After all, anyone can get these cards on the day they are issued. You need to think fast and realize it's an iconic moment. And you don't have to be an investment genius to recognize that Messi waiving the Jules Rimet trophy he chased his entire life will be an excellent card to have in your collection.
But the lucky bastard who got this card won the lottery. It's an autographed 1/1 version. So aside from having one of the most iconic moments in recent sports history immortalized, it is one-of-a-kind. So, the 2022 Panini Instant Lionel Messi Waving World Cup Auto 1/1 #118 will be worth a ton. However, maybe not quite as much, as the owner is currently selling it on eBay for $425,000. However, I bet you are at least slightly tempted if you have that much hiding in your couch cushions.
2022 Panini World Cup Prizm Cody Gakpo Gold Prizm Auto /10 #CGK
A PSA 10 sold for $1,100.
Before every World Cup, the pundits put together a list of the most likely breakout talents in the competition. Soccer is a very unpredictable sport; therefore, these predictions are almost invariably incorrect. However, everyone knew Cody Gakpo was set to blossom at the highest level, and he did not disappoint. The winger scored in three consecutive games against Senegal, Ecuador, and Qatar. And the goals were just the highlight of his generally scintillating form. So no one was surprised that super club Liverpool FC nabbed Cody for 50 million Euros right after the tournament. They are expected to build heavily on the player in the future.
The 2022 Panini World Cup Prizm Cody Gakpo Gold Prizm Auto /10 #CGK card will remind you of his phenomenal breakout. The gold background is beautiful, though you may want to consider the highly popular Blue Shimmer Prizm as an alternative. The only drawback of the card is the unattractive sticker auto. But unfortunately, that plagues most of the Panini Prizm releases. The card is still a bargain at this price.
2021-22 Panini Impeccable Heung Min Son Platinum Indelible Ink Auto 1/1
A raw card sold for $3,500.
Heung Min Son is one of the most gifted players in the world. And with 35 goals in 108 South Korean national team appearances, he is an absolute hero in his native country. That is a massive emerging market for soccer cards, and this card and others like it will likely significantly increase in value when the legendary player retires. Unfortunately, Son was not at his best in Qatar. The forward suffered from an eye injury. However, his efforts to get into shape and his heroic play with a mask on his face while leading South Korea to the round of 16 were among the most iconic moments of a fabulous tournament.
The 2021-22 Panini Impeccable Heung Min Son Platinum Indelible Ink Auto 1/1 is one of the most attractive soccer cards in recent memory. Ok, fine. The signature is total gibberish. But the indelible ink series, with its fresh on-card signatures, is always an excellent investment. And there is something about Song's smile that is utterly infectious.
2022 Panini Eminence Soccer World Cup Harry Kane Etched In History 1/1 Platinum Bar
Sold raw for $4,050
Considering his outstanding achievements, Harry Kane has almost flown under the radar in the hobby. But at only 29 years old, he is one of the most accomplished strikers in English history, with a heritage comfortably comparable to the greats like Jimmy Greaves, Gary Lineker, and Alan Shearer. Kane is Tottenham's all-time top scorer, with over 200 goals for the club. And with 53 for the "Three Lions," he is also the joint top scorer for the national team.
The 2022 Panini Eminence Soccer World Cup Harry Kane Etched In History 1/1 Platinum Bar is a great showing from the new line of ultra top-shelf soccer cards. With a bar made of genuine platinum and an original and eye-catching color scheme, this auto is a fitting tribute to Harry Kane's tremendous performances for England at the World Cup. Hopefully, he gets another shot in 2026.
2022 Panini World Cup Prizm Pele Signatures /10 #P
A non-numbered PSA 10 sold for $4,325. This version is worth several times more.
The story of Messi and Pele has always been deeply intertwined. The Brazilian legend knew that the Argentine was coming for his throne, and he didn't seem to have to be too happy about the prospect. Asked to compare Messi to him, Pele said, "How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right... and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill, doesn't head the ball well?"
The plot thickened during the World Cup. Pele was hospitalized during the competition, and it became clear that he would not live long. Fans unfurled banners of love and support as the legend watched from his hospital bed. But as he lay in his dying bed, Pele was more conciliatory and congratulated the man who had taken his GOAT title. Ten days later, the Brazilian legend was gone. However, his story will forever intertwine with Messi and the 2022 World Cup. Therefore, the 2022 Panini World Cup Prizm Pele Signatures /10 #P is of great importance and will have lasting value.
2021 Panini La Liga Mosaic Gavi Gold Refractor 10/10 #45
A PSA 10 sold for $5,990
Barcelona wonder kid Gavi hasn't won a World Cup. Yet. But anyone who saw the 18-year-old marshal Spain's midfield knows this kid will be a legend. People love comparing Gavi to Xavi and Iniesta. But honestly, they weren't as complete at this age. So, if you think the 2021 Panini La Liga Mosaic Gavi Gold Refractor 10/10 #45 is worth a lot now, wait till he starts raking in the awards and trophies. It will look like a bargain. If you can't afford this beauty, any limited edition of this attractive rookie card is worth stashing away.
2022 Panini Prizm World Cup Cristiano Ronaldo Gold Prizm Jersey /10 #D
A PSA 7 sold for $8,459
Sure, Qatar was not Cristiano Ronaldo's finest hour. He was demoted from the Portuguese starting lineup for its most important games. This game after a disastrous season with Manchester United. Even worse, Messi's sublime performance in the competition has settled the age-old question: Messi or Ronaldo? Nonetheless, Christiano Ronaldo remains one of the best soccer players in human history. He also has model good looks and lots of sports cars. So, don't feel too bad for the guy.
And as a testament to his remaining popularity in the hobby, the 2022 Panini Prizm World Cup Cristiano Ronaldo Gold Prizm Jersey /10 #D sold for $8,459. As a PSA 7. Yup. So, get your hands on a PSA 10, and you will be living the Ronaldo lifestyle.
2022 Panini Prizm World Cup Kylian Mbappe Golden Auto /10 #IKM
A PSA 10 sold for $10,125
Mbappe didn't win the World Cup in 2022. But, of course, he didn't have to. The PSG striker has nothing left to prove after scoring in the World Cup final as a precocious 19-year-old in 2018. And he didn't exactly flop in 2022, either. The French phenom scored eight goals and won the Golden Boot for the tournament. At the age of 22, he has as many World Cup goals as Pele did in his entire career. Yup, you read that right.
The 2022 Panini Prizm World Cup Kylian Mbappe Golden Auto /10 #IKM is my favorite recent Kylian Mbappe auto. Because the player is a World Cup legend, having the Jules Rimet trophy on the card is a great touch. And the color scheme is perfect. No wonder the card sold for such a great price.
2020-21 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Jude Bellingham Superfractor 1/1
A PSA 9 sold for $28,800
Gakpo may have been the best-performing young player in the entire tournament. But Jude Bellingham is a bigger player in the hobby market for two crucial reasons. First, he is English. And players from that country always have bigger PR going for them than others. The British press, the popularity of the Premier League, and other factors create more buzz around them. Second, Jude is still ridiculously young; therefore (theoretically), his ceiling is higher. Despite already having a massive global reputation, Bellingham is just 19 years old. And he already has the mental strength of a grizzled veteran. What else can we say about a teenager who scored his first international goal in the World Cup? And the Borussia Dortmund midfielder was arguably the best player on the pitch, driving England to a second-round victory over Senegal.
The 2020-21 Topps Chrome UEFA Champions League Jude Bellingham Superfractor 1/1 is an excellent investment. Better than his Panini Prizm World Cup cards. They are true rookies from an established card producer and far more attractive and valuable than the later cards.
Final Word On The 9 Best Cards of the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2022
There were so many tremendous players and performances on the pitch in Qatar. Of course, these cards could only scratch the surface. We missed many worthwhile cards. But whatever you are into, the 2022 World Cup was so memorable that many of the related cards are an excellent investment.