Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Soccer Cards!

I've been doing really well this year when it comes to more wisely using my hobby funds.  We're nearing the end of March and I haven't picked up a single retail blaster, or even pack for that matter.  Because of that though, I've been starting to get the itch to rip open some wax.  Well, recently I scratched!

I've seen the 2015 Donruss Soccer release by Panini a couple of places now and have been intrigued about the set.  Enough so that I was helpless when I saw that Dave & Adam's Card World is offering 24-pack hobby boxes for less than $30.  I figured these would be something different, and at a buck and a quarter per pack I certainly won't have any buyer's remorse.

With today being St. Patrick's Day, it seemed like the perfect time to show off this green box!  Besides, soccer is about as Irish a sport as you're going to see on modern-day trading cards, unless someone's put out a hurling set I don't know about?

Here's the box all opened up and ready to go.  24 packs, 8 cards a pack.  The base set checklist is only 100 cards deep, so I'd imagine that short of some very poor collation I should be able to complete an entire set from this box with a healthy amount of doubles leftover.

Here's a look at an individual pack.  From what I can tell, this set contains players from all over the globe.  I've only really started following soccer closely within the last five years or so.  Even then, I really only watch English Premier League (most every weekend that it's on), and the World Cup.  Because of this, I fully expect to recognize less than half of the players on the checklist.  That's alright though, for me part of the fun will be learning about new players, teams and leagues.

For today, let's crack into the first pack...

We come right out of the gate with a player I've never heard of in midfielder Blaise Matuidi.  Blaise plays for Paris Saint-Germain FC, one of the most successful teams in France's top professional league.  My wife and I stayed in Paris for a few days on our honeymoon, and spent a good deal of time in Saint-Germain.  Maybe that's a sign that this will be a great box for me?  Yeah, probably a stretch...

In typical Panini fashion the backs are devoid of photographs, and are arguably a little on the bland side.  I actually like these though.  The fact that the team logo gets a good amount of space is nice (love that Eiffel Tower/Fleur-de-Lis combo!), you get some basic info on the player and a decent little write-up.  The lack of stats doesn't bother me, because soccer is tough to chart statistically.

Two cards in, two guys I've never heard of.  That sure is some interesting form from Alan Dzagoev though.  Dzagoev plays for CSKA Moscow, in Russia's top league.  You can already see what a wide range of territory this set covers.  At just 25 years old he's already played on Russia's national team for years, including at the 2014 World Cup.

Burak Yilmaz is from Turkey, and played for a number of pro teams there (including Galatasaray, who he's depicted with here) as well as the national team, before taking his talents to China for the 2016 season. 

Since I don't have much to say about Burak, I'll take the opportunity to say that I really like the design that Panini went with here.  I'm really digging these, and that retro Donruss logo definitely takes me back.

Here's someone I recognize!  I love the Pitch Kings inserts as an obvious tribute to the Donruss Diamond Kings baseball cards.  Widely regarded as one of the top midfielders in the world during his prime, Wesley came up with major clubs like Ajax and Real Madrid, and has been playing in Turkey the past few seasons.  Had some big moments for the Netherlands at the last World Cup.

Here's what the back of a Pitch Kings card looks like.  That's two cards in a row from the Turkish Galatasaray team.

My first pack here actually yielded two inserts.  Featuring players who have represented their country during international play, this International Superstars insert falls a little flat in my opinion.  The design is nothing special; I don't see myself tracking these down, especially since it's a rather large insert set at over 80 cards.

Here's another card featuring a Russian Team, FC Zenit St. Petersburg.  Garay actually hails from Argentina though, and has represented them nationally on a few occasions including the 2014 World Cup.

Giannis Maniatis gets the distinction of "most fun name to say in the pack".  Plays in Greece, at least until a couple of months ago when he went off on loan to a Belgian team.  Came across as kind of a DB in arguing with a teammate during practice with the Greek national team at the 2014 World Cup.  He allegedly got so mad that he booked a plane ticket home planning to abandon his teammates before eventually being talked out of it.

Last card in the pack is definitely the highlight for me!  I don't think there are too many sports fans period who haven't heard of Lionel Messi.  Declared FIFA World Player of the Year more times than any other player in history, and the first player to win three European Golden Shoes, he's widely regarded as one of the best players on Earth.  Arguably (and it's a pretty strong argument) the best of all-time, though I'm certainly not qualified to speak on that.

Well, that first pack was quite enjoyable.  I'm really glad I picked up this box.  If there are a couple of you that made it through this without falling asleep then maybe I'll show another pack or two down the road.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!


Tony L. said...

That's an interesting looking set. It isn't labeled as "Champions League" but teams like CSKA and Galatasaray are regulars in that competition.

I may have to get a box of that just to see what it holds.

Tony L. said...

P.S. My wife and I were in Barcelona on our honeymoon at the same time as an El Clasico between Barca and Real Madrid (it was the 5-0 spanking Barca applied back in 2010). Just being in the city there was an incredible experience!

Jeff Jones said...

That Sneijder is awesome, like this set just wish it had EPL teams

Tony Burbs said...

Yea, the only name I recognize is Lionel Messi, so there might be something to your theory that every one has heard of him. I have to say, I think I like Donruss better on soccer than I do baseball.

JediJeff said...

I plan on grabbing a box as well at that price. Gotta post the pack with the auto at the very least.

Anonymous said...

You know I'm not going to complain about soccer cards, even though I fall into the "I've only heard of Messi" camp.

I would like to see more of these.

Tim B. said...

That's a great start to the box! I'm looking forward to seeing what else you unwrap.

Twitch said...

Yeah! Soccer! I'm down for more of this.

Fuji said...

Just placed an order on DA and considered grabbing a box. However it fell victim to the chopping block... which I'm now regretting.

Mark Kaz said...

Donruss Soccer?? Who knew?! These are pretty cool! As a fellow short guy, Messi is one of my sports heroes!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...