I grew up in Detroit, and eventually moved to Nashville, but ended up in Spain in 2018 with my family. Valencia, Spain - to be exact.
When my son started in public Spanish school, within the first week, there were reps from Panini outside of the schools passing out packets of 1 EURO cards for free.
The set they were passing out was Panini Adrenalyn. Soccer Cards, called "cromos de futbol" in Spain, are definitely popular in Europe, but aren't exactly flying off shelves like they do in the United States. Basically, they're readily available.
From Panini's premier set in Spain called Megacracks (MGK) to Sticker Collections like Este Colleciones (both of which I'll cover in future blogs) to Adrenalyn, the popularity is strong, but the availability is also solid.
There aren't card shops; you definitely have to hunt them down at your local random souvenir shop or cigarette store, but it's possible to find packs in retail stores, and also online.
It turns out Panini's grassroots school kid freebees were genius marketing moves three years ago, because now in 2021, Adrenalyn's popularity is solid.
Adrenalyn La Liga has a base set, nicely and clearly organized by team. There are different levels of special cards, from Rookies, called Nueva Fichajes and Actualizaciones, to Limited Editions (Edicion Limitadas), Idolos, Entrenadors (Coaches) to the premium cards like SuperCracks (SuperStars) and the sought after Balon de Oro (Gold Ball).
In short, Panini Adrenalyn La Liga reminds me of NBA Hoops 1990 and Fleer 1990 Basketball cards, where there was a set for each team, numbered by player, and there were also clear sets of special cards with a checklist.
The difference with all Panini Adrenalyn sets - not just La Liga, but also Premier League, etc. - is that they double as a Trading Card Game, explained online here (right click and translate to English). 🙂
Euro Soccer cards by Panini do a great job of introducing both the ability of collecting the whole set (featuring actual binders to keep your sets in) AND playing the online game (by publishing a magazine that explains the game called Jugon - and yes, it comes with cards).
There are also several special tins and boxes you can buy to enhance your Adrenalyn sets, which appeals to competitive collectors like you and I, who want to own the most valuable cards in each set.
I equate the Spanish Adrenalyn tins and boxes to the US-based Prizm parallels and "Obsidian" cards.
According to eBay Comps, players like João Félix and Ansu Fati (2019 Rookies), Pedri and Yunus Musah (2020 Rookies) have helped make each of the last two Adrenalyn sets pretty sought-after and valuable.
Of course you can buy all of the aforementioned products at NoOffseason.com, and they'll be more to come in our series of How To Collect Soccer Cards.
Paul Hickey is a Digital Creator, spending about about 60% of his work time building WordPress websites for small businesses, 20% of his work time running an eCommerce Sports Cards and Digital Collectibles business at NoOffseason.com and another 20% of his work time authoring books and creating digital art in the form of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).
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