Lionel Messi is one of the biggest names in the world of sports and one of the greatest players to ever play the game. So far, the 33-year-old has spent his whole career so far at Barcelona, winning 10 La Liga titles, 6 Copa del Reys, and 4 Champions Leagues.
In addition to the titles, Messi has scored over 70 international goals for Argentina and almost 650 goals for Barcelona. Statistics that have caused the man to be awarded the Ballon d’Or award for the best player in the world a record 6 times. Yep, he’s that good.
Lionel Messi’s rookie La Liga season came in the 2004-05 season. Having progressed swiftly through the youth ranks at Barcelona, Messi came off the bench to make his debut at the age of just 17. The move made him the youngest player ever to represent Barcelona at the time. Talk about being thrown into the fire! Messi would go on to make a further 8 appearances in his rookie season, scoring 1 goal along the way.
So, as you can see the rookie season was fairly uneventful. Perhaps, that’s why the true Lionel Messi rookie card options from 2004 are incredibly limited. That said, here are a few we’ve been able to track down!
Random thought of the day: Will Neymar soon challenge Messi for the title of the world’s best player? If he does, it sure would be nice to have one of the most valuable Neymar Jr. cards in the hopper!
Lionel Messi Rookie Card: True RC (2004) Options
2004 Panini Mega Cracks (Buy this Lionel Messi rookie card on eBay)
The big boy from this set recently made some major shockwaves when it sold for more than $100,000 on eBay. While that one was a perfect 10 grade, even the gem mint 9.5 condition cards are enough for a down payment on a nice house. Not in your budget? Don’t worry, there’s more!
So besides the ridiculous card we just talked about, the one shown above seems to be the most valuable Messi rookie card. The card features Messi in his Nike Barcelona kit dribbling with that trademark style that has become so familiar over the years. Perhaps he should apply for a patent on it! These don’t turn up in mint condition very often but when one does expect it to generate plenty of attention. And money. For instance, 9.5 grade recently sold for $16,000.
If you are not a fan of the big price tags you can try scaling it back a bit. Perhaps cards #89 or #35 are better options for you. They are a bit cheaper to acquire than the ones we’ve covered so far but they’re incredibly valuable nonetheless. The first shows Messi from the waste up and appears to be the more exciting of the two. Meanwhile, the second just shows a stone-faced headshot of Messi.
2004 Mundi Cromo Sport Las Fichas (Buy on eBay)
This card is another card that features Messi dribbling in a Barcelona kit with no sponsor. The writing up the left-hand side is neat and tidy and gives the card a good, clean feel. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say about this Lionel Messi rookie card. Other than that buying one might be a good idea!
2004 Panini Este Sticker (Buy this Lionel Messi rookie card on eBay)
We hesitate to put a sticker on this list but that’s a testament to just how scarce Messi rookie cards are. This horizontally printed sticker contains two pictures of Messi. One is a picture of the rookie in action while the other is just a boring ole headshot. Gotta appreciate the contrast though!
The stickers aren’t numbered and it’s rare to find them in mint condition. However, this means that when they do pop up, they can go for lots of money. For instance, when they’re rated PSA 8 or higher they can go for over $5,000. A sticker worth more than a decent used car. Go figure.
2004 UK Traditions Football World Stars (Buy on eBay)
Long before Messi was designing trading cards, he was posing for them. Produced in the UK, this card features another boring (some may even say confused) headshot of Messi with an Argentine flag at the bottom. The lack of any sort of mention of Barcelona might be an off-put for some. However, it appears they have quite the appeal, regardless. The mint condition copies of this sell for around $2,500 to $3,000.
The other football is in full swing and this guy is ON FIRE. Check out these MUST HAVE Justin Herbert rookie cards!
Messi Rookie Card Market: Looking Forward
There is a bit of doubt when it comes to what the future holds for Lionel Messi. The forward’s contract is up at the end of this season and who knows where he’ll end up after. Manchester City and PSG are two clubs touted to have the financial power to tempt him to sign for them. Both of these clubs are capable of winning multiple major trophies every year and Messi will undoubtedly score a lot of goals for anyone he plays for. So, as a 33-year-old, no matter what his next steps are, there is likely a lot more winning (and scoring) to come.
As far as the overall health of the soccer/football trading card market goes, it seems to be on the up. The sport came a little late to the party and that’s reflected in the limit Lionel Messi rookie card options above. However, there has been a significant rise in the market, and if that continues there may be no better investment than the game’s best player.