Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, with the highest global spectator and playing numbers, and yet there isn’t a soccer card that has broken into the top 10 most valuable sports cards ever.
It doesn’t currently have the same hobby interest levels as some of America’s favorite sports, like Football, Baseball and Basketball, which is no surprise, given that the sports card market is most prominent in the US, but it’s certainly an emerging market, and a sport that is becoming more and more collectible.
The emergence of soccer cards in the hobby has attracted big money for some of the most desirable cards, and the money is likely to keep flowing in, as interest continues to rise.
The list below details the 10 most expensive soccer cards ever sold. An individual card will only appear in the list once.
The Most Valuable Soccer Cards Of All Time
- 1958 Alifabolaget Pelé #635
- 1979 Panini Calciatori Diego Maradona #312
- 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Gold Prizm Lionel Messi #12
- 1957 Balas Futebol Pelé #11
- 2019 Topps Chrome Bundesliga Autographs Superfractor Erling Haaland #91
- 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi #71
- 2002 Panini Sports Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo #137
- 2022 Panini Prizm World Cup Qatar Gold Power Prizm Lionel Messi #7
- 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup Gold Prizm Kylian Mbappe #80
- 2019 Topps Finest UEFA Champions League Superfractor Erling Haaland #91
1. 1958 Alifabolaget Pelé #635
The most valuable soccer card of all time is the 1958 Alifabolaget (#635) card.
Two World Cup Final goals at just 17-years-old was only the start of an outstanding soccer career for Pelé, who many consider the best to ever play the game.
The three-time world champion has too many records and achievements to list them all here, but his legacy is clear to see – He’s featured on soccer’s most expensive card of all time, which was released the same year as those famous first World Cup final goals, and title, of his.
Whether you consider him the best ever or not, there’s no denying the genius of Pelé with the ball – It’s scary to imagine what he’d do on the carpet-like pitches we see in today’s game.
The card shows an image of Pelé in his 1958 World Cup winning Brazil jersey, and while it’s not his rookie card, the link to that significant World Cup makes it the grail of soccer cards, and the most valuable ever.
The value is also helped by the rarity of the card, because there’s very few of them out there.
$1.33 million in a grade PSA 9.
2. 1979 Panini Calciatori Diego Maradona #312
Diego Maradona might’ve been a controversial figure, but there’s no doubt that he’s one of soccer’s all-time greats.
He displayed one of sports’ greatest individual performances at the 1986 World Cup, where his five goals, including the infamous “Hand of God” goal, and five assists led Argentina to the title.
His ability to dribble with the ball was to a level that we’ve seen from very few other players, like his fellow countryman, Lionel Messi.
The 1979 Calciatori Diego Maradona rookie card, which is actually a sticker, at one point held the record for the biggest soccer card sale ever, but it currently sits at number two.
Its age, and the fact it’s a sticker, means it’s incredibly hard to find in good condition, so top grades are in very little supply, which helps add to the value.
$556k in a grade PSA 10.
3. 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup Gold Prizm Lionel Messi #12
Another soccer player who is considered the best of all time by many is the brilliant Lionel Messi.
The record 7-time Ballon d’Or winner is the most decorated player ever, and victory at the 2022 Qatar World Cup was the cherry on the cake of his outrageously successful career.
Again, you can debate whether he’s the greatest player ever, but his legacy on the sport will live on for a very long time.
He features on the third most expensive soccer card of all time, from arguably the best modern soccer card set, 2014 Panini Prizm World Cup, with this Gold Prizm card, which is limited to just 10 copies.
Perhaps the timing of the record sale for this one, in the midst of a booming sports card market, gives it a bit of a false ranking, considering he has a 1-of-1 Prizm World Cup card, which has the added significance of being from the year he finally won it, further down this list.
In my opinion, that 1-of-1 card is more appealing than this one for multiple reasons, but that’s not to say that this one isn’t very desirable and, ultimately, it has the third-highest sale that we’ve seen on the soccer card market.
$522k in a grade PSA 10.
4. 1957 Balas Futebol Pelé #11
The 1958 Pelé Alifabolaget has that significant link to his first World Cup, which he was so successful in, but this 1957 Balas Futebol card is a rookie of his (his earliest) so while it’s not as valuable, it’s still one of the most expensive soccer cards ever.
The card itself is tiny, no bigger than a stamp in-fact, so finding it in any kind of reasonable condition, after all this time, is extremely hard – That certainly adds to the value of it.
$486k in a grade SGC 2.
5. 2019 Topps Chrome Bundesliga Autographs Superfractor Erling Haaland #91
Erling Haaland is a goal-machine – Few players have hit the ground running in professional soccer like he did. No player has ever reached 20 Champions League goals as fast as him (just 14 games), and he was also the youngest player to hit the landmark.
He’s equipped to go on to become one of the sport’s greats, and that has a lot of soccer card collectors hyped.
Another record sale that came in the middle of a booming sports card market, that was often fueled by hype and speculation, Haaland’s 2019 Topps Chrome Bundesliga Autographed Superfractor card, which is a 1-of-1, comes in at number 5 on the list of the most valuable soccer cards of all time.
Obviously, the limited nature of it being the only copy in existence, also plays a big part in its price.
$432k in a grade BGS 9.5.
6. 2004 Panini Sports Mega Cracks Lionel Messi #71
A Lionel Messi rookie card had to make the list, and it does with this 2004 Mega Cracks card, which features him in action for Barcelona, where he spent most of his career, during his early days.
The popular card is not easy to come-by in the highest grade, and it’ll cost you a lot of money to buy if you do.
$336k in a grade PSA 10.
7. 2002 Panini Sports Mega Craques Cristiano Ronaldo #137
At his peak, for me, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player that soccer has seen, or at least the best goalscorer – I know that’ll cause some debate, and perhaps the elusive World Cup title takes him out of the equation, but there’s no shortage of titles and records in his unbelievable career.
The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner has the most professional goals, at both club and international level, the most UEFA Champions League goals and titles, as well as being part of the first ever Portugal side to win a major trophy, among many more titles and accolades.
It’s no surprise that his rookie card, this 2002 Mega Craques (which features him for his first club Sporting Lisbon), is one of the most sought-after and valuable soccer cards ever.
$312k in a grade PSA 10.
8. 2022 Panini Prizm World Cup Qatar Gold Power Prizm Lionel Messi #7
Here’s the 1-of-1 Qatar World Cup winning Lionel Messi card that I mentioned earlier – I personally think it’s more desirable than his Gold Prizm 2014 World Cup card, which sits in position 3 on the list, because of the link to his World Cup win, and the added level of scarcity, but its highest sale puts it in position 8 on the list.
The 2022 Qatar World Cup was Messi’s last real chance to add the elusive trophy to his big collection, and it seemed written in the stars that he would go on to win the competition – He did just that, and added soccer’s biggest prize as the final piece to his amazing career.
$218k in a grade PSA 10.
9. 2018 Panini Prizm World Cup Gold Prizm Kylian Mbappe #80
The 2018 World Cup was the competition that 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe caught the attention of the masses, after playing a pivotal role in France winning the competition, and becoming only the second teenager since Pelé to score in the final.
Shortly after, he became the soccer card hobby’s star, and his 2018 World Cup Gold Prizm card, which is limited to 10 copies, is on the list of the most expensive soccer cards ever sold.
$216k in a grade PSA 10.
10. 2019 Topps Finest UEFA Champions League Superfractor Erling Haaland #91
The second Erling Haaland card on this list, and another 1-of-1 option, which isn’t autographed like his Topps Chrome Bundesliga Superfractor, but it did come before, and features him for RB Salzburg.
He took the Champions League by storm with his goals, and his records for the youngest player and fastest to reach 20 in the competition, so this Topps Finest Champions League Superfractor is understandably appealing, and very valuable.
$210k in a grade BGS 9.5.