Thanks to Topps really turning on the printing presses this year and making a 1st Edition Topps Champions League product we get an early look the checklist. This should be the checklist for all UCL products this year so let’s take a look at the rookies. *Update. Topps took out the Chelsea UCL Winners and Duo Cards from the paper checklist and added 12 new rookies which you will see in their own section below.
Unless you are a big soccer fan you probably won’t recognize some of the names in here because Topps has really started digging deep for prospects. This change happened last year and 2020-2021 products were pretty loaded thanks to it. If they also wouldn’t have increased production so much wax prices would be through the roof. The give and take is that base is dead (read more about that HERE) but box prices are low.
Each player’s age, position and team are listed. If you are in the hobby then you know that goals get all the glory. If a player is not an attacking player(forward, winger, or midfielder) the chances of them have long term hobby value is pretty low. For that reason you won’t see a breakdown of defenders. If you think that defenders will one day get love feel free to invest in them. If you are right you will look like a genius.
Some of these players already have cards thanks to Topps Now and all the curated sets that have come out. If you see a Search on eBay below it will take you to eBay listings for the cards or stickers the player currently has. Topps is giving us a couple paper products (1st and Flagship) next week before releasing Chrome at the end of April so if they already have stuff there will be plenty throughout the year.
This column is not meant to be investment advice. It is meant to be more of a guide for you to identify players to do further research on. A lot of people in the hobby seem to be down on this year’s rookies. I think that may be a little shortsighted. During March of last year hardly anybody in the hobby was talking about Adeyemi, Noa Lang, Charles De Ketelaere and Antony. There are 25 offensive players that are 21 or younger. Some as young 16 so while they might not all pop off right away these sets will have long term potential. They may not live up to the 2020/2021 rookies, but this is not a set like Road To Qatar where the Rated Rookies were old and had little future potential.
I was going to rank the rookies but that would have just been my opinion and then people say you are pumping even though the sets aren’t even released. You can kind of get an idea of the players that I think will sell below but if you want to hit me up to chat about certain players just DM me on IG (@SoccerCardsHQ) or Twitter (@SoccerCardsHQ) or post in the Facebook group (@SoccerCardsHQ).
If you are looking to buy Topps Chrome boxes eBay currently has them cheaper than Topps released them for. (Search on eBay)
These are in order of how they appear in the checklist.
2021-2022 Topps Champions League Rookies
Josip Stanišić – 21 y/o Defender – Bayern Munich
Luka Sucic – 19 y/o Center Midfielder – Salzburg (Search on eBay)
Luka is a talented center mid that plays for Croatia. With that said is it any surprise his hero is Luka Modric. If Sucic has the career of Modric that would be quite an accomplishment and would earn him a Ballon D’Or. It would not earn him much hobby respect as we have seen with Modric. Seriously the guy is the only player not named Messi or Ronaldo to win the award in the last 13 years and he gets hardly any hobby love outside his super rare 2006 sticker. Sorry for that tangent I promise to stay on topic for the rest of the column 🙂 Back to Luka he played more attacking as the Salzburg season went on a end up scoring 8 goals including 6 in his last 7 starts. He’s one to keep an eye on.
Shola Shoretire – 18 y/o Attacking Midfielder/Forward – Manchester United (Search on eBay)
Shoretire made his debut for Manchester United last year in a couple of spot performances. He has spent most of this year in Premier League 2 where he has 10 goals and 4 assists. He will be overshadowed by teammate Anthony Elanga in this checklist but provides some good value to United break spots.
Liam Delap – 19 y/o Forward – Manchester City (Search on eBay)
Delap was well on his way to stardom after scoring 24 goals in 20 Premier League 2 starts last year. This season has been an injury filled disappointment for the young English striker. He is back playing with the senior squad this year but will have trouble putting up eye popping stats with this being winning time for Man City. He could be a good possible buy low candidate now until next season if the market is writing him off.
Brian Brobbey – 20 y/o Forward – Leipzig on loan to Ajax (Search on eBay)
Brobbey was signed by Leipzig over the summer after showing good potential in limited time at Ajax. There were just too many attackers on Leipzig so they sent him back on loan to Ajax where he scored 3 goals in 2 games before getting hurt. He came back after missing a few games and just kept scoring. He’s certainly an interesting prospect but needs to stay healthy and get consistent time.
Manuel Ugarte – 21 y/o Defensive Mid – Sporting CP
Mohamed Daramy – 20 y/o Attack Mid/Forward – Ajax
Doesn’t score enough. After starting the season with a number of appearances for the senior club he has mostly been playing for Jong Ajax which is not a great sign for future hobby potential.
Martín Satriano – 21 y/o Forward – Inter Milan on loan to Brest
Was not seeing much time in Milan so they loaned him out to Brest. He does have 3 goals so far in Ligue 1 but not one to get overly excited about.
Oscar Mingueza – 23 y/o Defender – Barcelona
Gavi – 17 y/o Center Mid/Wing – Barcelona (Search on eBay)
The 17 year old has burst on the scene for Barcelona this year and even started in two World Cup Qualifiers for Spain. He does play on the wing some and settling into that spot would be more beneficial for his hobby prospects in the future compared to playing as a center mid, which is his more natural position. He will deservedly be a big chase in this checklist.
Kaio Jorge – 20 y/o Forward – Juventus (Search on eBay)
The Brazilian striker was signed from Santos last summer. This got him some hobby hype coming into the season. He was getting sub appearances with the senior team when he got injured. He is not hot right now because of the underwhelming season. He has a lot of competition for playing time at Juventus so he will need to perform in his chances when he gets them. Has potential but might need a loan out to get hobby hot.
Hannibal Mejbri – 19 y/o Attacking Mid / Forward – Manchester United (Search on eBay)
The 19 year old Frenchman is another United prospect with lots of potential. He’s more likely to pile up assists than goals which wouldn’t be as promising for his hobby value. He should have plenty of opportunity on big stages to shine so that could help him in the hobby. Not sure he will get much love out the gate but another one that provides real value to United breaks.
Samuel Edozie – 19 y/o Forward – Manchester City (Search on eBay)
Another of the City attacking prospects in the checklist. Of the 4 I think he is probably the lowest on the list right now based on performance. He will need a move to break out but if he gets it the potential is there.
Maurits Kjærgaard – 18 y/o Midfielder – Salzburg (Search on eBay)
The 18 year old Dane is starting to get more time for Salzburg. He was projected to play deeper in the midfield which would be bad for his hobby potential. Salzburg has been moving him up the pitch lately though. He scored against Bayern Munich in the Champions League so he’s one to keep an eye on depending where he eventually settles in.
Pedro Gonçalves – 23 y/o – Sporting CP (Search on eBay)
One of the older rookies in the set and therefore is having the most success. Led Primeira Liga last year with 23 goals and had 4 goals and 2 assists in the group stage of Champions League this year. If he were a few years younger he would be super hot in the hobby. Will be interesting to see how these cards play out. He does have earlier Panini stickers for the true rookie collectors.
Takuhiro Nakai (Pipi) – 18 y/o Midfielder – Real Madrid
The Japanese midfielder has yet to break in with the senior Real Madrid team but could see him having some collectability especially in Japan.
Pepê – 25 y/o Midfielder/Wing – Porto
Too old and not productive enough to invest in.
Pierre Kalulu – 21 y/o Defender – AC Milan
Cole Palmer – 19 y/o Attacking Mid/Forward/Winger – Manchester City (Search on eBay)
The 19 year old Englishman plays all over the place for Manchester City. He has yet to score for the senior club but has been tearing up Premier League 2. He should be pretty collectable based on his age and the fact that he is an English goal scorer. The Manchester City break spot is loaded in this checklist yet Panini didn’t put any of them in the Prizm Premier League product.
Tibo Persyn – 20 y/o Midfielder – Club Brugge on loan to Westerlo
Currently at Westerlo the 20 year old Belgian has not done enough to get on the hobby radar.
Giorgio Scalvini – 18 y/o defender – Atalanta
Steffen Tigges – 23 y/o Forward – Borussia Dortmund
Might get hype for being a BVB forward. Don’t fall for it. He’s too old and hasn’t done much.
Eric García – 21 y/o Defender – Barcelona
Tiago Tomás – 19 y/o Forward – Sporting CP on loan to Stuttgart (Search on eBay)
Did not score much for Sporting but was only 18. Has already scored 2 goals for Stuttgart and is still only 19. Has Panini stickers already.
Felix Nmecha – 21 y/o Midfielder – Wolfsburg
Started his career at Manchester City before being released after last season. That is not a good sign and neither is him getting much time at Wolfsburg.
Ismaël Gharbi – 17 y/o Midfielder – Paris Saint-Germain (Search on eBay)
Has only played a couple of matches for PSG which is understandable considering the players in front of him. Did make his UCL debut last season at age 16 against Bayern Munich which is pretty impressive. Much like Xavi Simmons from last year, he will have a hard time putting up stats without a move but the talent is there.
Sven Botman – 22 y/o Defender – Lille
Nico González – 20 y/o Center Mid – Barcelona (Search on eBay)
One of the many Barcelona prospects. He made his debut for the senior club this year and has regularly been subbed on. He has 2 goals and 2 assists. The Barcelona January transfers will keep him buried for a while so the hype from earlier in the year will fade a bit. He’s also older than Fati, Pedri and Gavi who are better investments for my money.
Sidney Raebiger – 16 y/o Attacking Midfielder – RB Leipzig (Search on eBay)
These are the type of players that set Topps apart from Panini. Sidney is only 16 and has 1 appearance for Leipzig, but Topps still managed to get him a Topps Now card and into their UCL sets this year. He has 5 goals in 8 starts in the U19 Bundesliga this year so the scoring talent is there. One to look out for but you will have to be patient.
James McAtee – 19 y/o Attacking Mid – Manchester City (Search on eBay)
The last of the 4 Manchester City attacking prospects in the checklist. I would rate him the 3rd behind Delap and Palmer but he has done the most this year with 17 goals in 18 starts in Premier League 2. The other two have dealt with injuries which has held them back a bit. Has a very few Futera cards that would technically be his rookie is you think they count.
Ibrahima Konaté – 22 y/o Defender – Liverpool
Francisco Conceição – 19 y/o Forward – Porto (Search on eBay)
Mostly a sub for Porto but plays behind some good players. Won’t get a lot of hobby love out the gate since he plays in Portugal and hasn’t put up stats yet.
Ilaix Moriba – 20 y/o Center Mid – RB Leipzig
The Guinean midfielder was pretty hyped coming through the Barcelona system but they sent him off to Leipzig. He is now back on loan in Spain at Valencia. Don’t get caught up in his hype.
Antonio Blanco – 21 y/o Defensive Mid – Real Madrid
Nuno Mendes – 19 y/o Defender – Paris Saint Germain
Yusuf Demir – 18 y/o Winger – Barcelona back at Rapid Wien (Search on eBay)
Was brought in on loan from Rapid Wien to Barcelona over the summer which got him some hobby hype. There are just too many other good options at Barcelona so they sent him back to Rapid Wien and the hype is gone. Has Panini stickers from last year.
Fodé Ballo-Touré – 25 y/o Defender – AC Milan
Anthony Elanga – 19 y/o Winger – Manchester United (Search on eBay)
Elanga has burst onto the world scene in 2022. He started his first Premier League game in December and since then has started half the games. He is starting those games over Marcus Rashford so he is no slouch. He scored the game tying goal late vs Atletico Madrid to salvage a draw in the first leg of the UCL Round OF 16. He will be one of the bigger chases in the product which is only aided by him not making the cut for Premier League Prizm. Good job Panini.
Joško Gvardiol – 20 y/o Defender – Leipzig
Benjamin Sesko – 18 y/o Forward – RB Salzburg (Search on eBay)
Sesko is a 6’4 forward from Slovenia that plays at the same team that Haaland played at. That alone put him on the hobby map. He has only scored 3 goals this season but as most in the hobby know Salzburg is full of young talent including Karim Adeyemi who scores a lot. Adeyemi and a few others should move over the summer which will leave plenty of goals for Sesko next year.
Alejandro Balde – 18 y/o Defender – Barcelona
Miguel Gutiérrez – 20 y/o Defender – Real Madrid
Christopher Scott – 19y/o Attacking Mid/Forward – Bayern Munich
Scott started his career at Leverkusen where he tore up the Bundesliga U17 and U19 leagues so of course Bayern Munich swallowed him up because that is what they do. He has fallen out of favor in Munich and does not see time for the senior squad. He really needs a move if he wants to flourish. Doubt he will get much hobby love but if he gets a move he could rejuvenate his career.
Jonathan David – 22 y/o Forward – Lille (Search on eBay)
David is a goal scoring machine that has really burst onto the hobby scene not only for his club accomplishments but what he has done for Canada in World Cup Qualifying. He will be one of if not the biggest chases in this checklist for that reason. This will be David’s first year with cards but he has stickers dating back to 2018 if you are a “true rookie” collector. Also of note David was actually born in the US, but ended up in Canada at an early age after a few years in Haiti. Haiti is where his parents are from. He is the exact type of player the US Men’s National Team needs but America’s loss is Canada’s gain.
Bright Arrey-Mbi – 18 y/o Defender – Bayern Munich on loan to Koln
Omar Richards – 24 y/o Defender – Bayern Munich
Daniel Bragança – 22 y/o Midfielder – Sporting CP
Not much of an attacker and too old too have high hobby prospects.
Edouard Michut – 19 y/o Center Mid – Paris Saint Germain (Search on eBay)
Michut is a talented youngster who gets comparison to Marco Verratti. If he has the career that Verratti has that will be very good for his bank account but not very good for yours if you invest in him.
Ignace Van der Brempt – 19 y/o Defender – Club Brugge now on RB Salzburg
Gonçalo Inácio – 20 y/o Defender – Sporting CP
2021/22 Topps Chrome UCL Only Rookies
Adama Traore – 26 y/o Winger – Sheriff
Yes there is another Adama Traore. This is his rookie because he plays for Sheriff who would never get cards made for their domestic league. He is a good player but already 26 years old. The only way his cards get value is if the Sheriff executives get in a pissing match and what to chase the low numbered cards.
Charlie Savage – 19 y/o Center/Defensive Mid – Manchester United
Savage is a young Welsh Manchester United player so there may be some hype from either of those two fan bases. His father is also a famous player so he has that going for him. Just be warned because he won’t put up the stats that make the hobby happy.
Tyler Morton – 19 y/o Center Mid – Liverpool
Much like Charlie Savage, Morton is a fine you center midfielder. He also plays on a big team and is English so could get some hype, but will likely not put up stats in the long run unless he changes positions.
Zidane Iqbal – 19 y/o Center Mid – Manchester United
If you change our Welsh for Iraqi and take away the famous father, Iqbal has a very similar profile to Savage as well.
Jordan Siebatcheu (Pefok) – 26 y/o Forward – Young Boys
Not sure why Topps and Panini are still going with Siebatcheu as Jordan has now chosen to go by Pefok. He has scored 22 goals for Young Boys this year and could be the starting 9 for the USMNT at the World Cup. He is 26 years old and only getting a RC because of the domestic league he plays in. He has Panini stickers from as far back as 2015 Foot. Based on his Donruss Road To Qatar Rated Rookie sales he isn’t much of a chase right now. If he does score an important World Cup goal he would be a prime candidate for the pump and dumpers.
Felix Mambimbi – 21 y/o Forward – Young Boys
Mambimbi is Swiss and while being listed as a forward plays all over the pitch. He has 3 goals and 5 assists on the season so he does put up stats. He shouldn’t have to much hype based on being Swiss and his age/team combination.
Marco Da Graca – 20 y/o Forward – Juventus
Da Graca has played most of the season for the Juventus U23 team. He has scored 4 goals but has batted injuries all year. He did get 1 minute in a UCL game so Topps pounced. Will need to be sent to a new team to really break out as Juventus is pretty set at forward for next year.
Cristiano – 28 y/o Defender – Sheriff
I normally don’t write anything for defenders, but I am just picturing some unknowing imposter soccer breaker pulling this and thinking it’s CR7. That makes me chuckle.
Sebastian Thill – 28 y/o Midfielder – Sheriff
Another Sheriff player that is only getting a rookie because he plays for Sheriff.
Abde Ezzalzouli – 20 y/o Winger – Barcelona
Abde has bounced between Barcelona B and the senior team this year. He did score 1 goal for the senior team, but only has 1 for Barcelona B as well which isn’t great. Reports a few weeks ago had Abde headed out of Barcelona. Just today reports are coming out that he will be on the senior team next season. It could be Barcelona just trying to hike up his value. I can’t see him making an impact with the senior team next year. He is known as EZ Abde which is a cool nickname.
Junior Dina Ebimbe – 21 y/o Center Mid – PSG
Another good center mid but much like those listed above is not likely not get much hobby love.
Aster Vranckx – 19 y/o Center Mid – Wolfsburg
Topps must have really fallen for the Gavi hype because they really added a lot of box-to-box midfielders for Chrome. Aster is just another one of them.