Fans' View

Fan’s view: A book of history

Photo: Stephen Speer

While the world’s biggest stage is only on display every four years, each World Cup leaves unforgettable memories. With the most recent World Cup recently finishing up in Qatar, soccer enthusiasts and collectors are left to turn their attention elsewhere. For some of us, we have an important memento.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar gathered a diverse range of people from around the globe to view an amazing spectacle. To support the even crazier numbers of fans who watched the World Cup from afar, Panini, the world-leading publisher of trading cards, comes out with an official licensed sticker album for each World Cup.

The first World Cup that I watched was the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. This is where I truly became invested in the sport as I watched the tournament unfold. However, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is where I grabbed my first Panini sticker book and started the frenzied process of trying to complete it.

That 2014 sticker book was a work of art. Baby blue and a yellowish-green highlighted the softcover album. This book with minimal words allowed me to wonder about the world. Immediately, I was interested in all of the nations’ flags and pounced upon the chance to learn them. In addition, I loved just looking at the players’ names, which eventually led to my knowledge of global soccer. Also, I loved looking at the back of the album and reading about the history of the competition, learning about how giants like Pele and Maradona conquered the final hurdle to greatness.

I remember that one night after a day at school, my father surprised me with a box of the Panini stickers. It was my first box. It was like opening a portal to explore the world. I tried not to rip the stickers as I carefully opened each pack, taking a few seconds to look over each player as I went. I sweated as I carefully took my time to place each sticker in the correct spot with precise placement. Each pack opened unveiled different players, old and young.

I remember unpacking Lionel Messi and being overwhelmed. I fell in love with Messi during the 2010 World Cup as he dominated for the La Albiceleste. He was my favorite player then and still is to this day. He was my soccer idol, and seeing his face in the pack of cards was surreal. But while I was full of joy after getting Messi, I was still incredibly happy to see other players as well in the sticker packs.

After multiple boxes and several trades across the site Last Sticker, which allowed me to trade with people around the world, I completed the album. I would go on to complete the 2018 Russia sticker book along with the 2022 Qatar sticker book, still obtaining the same amount of joy as my nine-year-old self did in 2014.

Now, I am seventeen years old and as I watched my idol Lionel Messi dominate and achieve immortality in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, I look back on how the beautiful game has transformed my life. The sticker album allows me to see different cultures and nations just by looking at a page of paper. Each pack that I open opens up a different location in the world and holds a different sentimental value. Some are places I have been, like South Africa and England. Others are countries I long to visit, like Brazil and Ghana. While Panini has raised the prices on sticker boxes in the last decade, I still think it is worth it for a chance to view the world through soccer and watch the brilliant aspects of the game collect on pages we can hold.


  1. Fun article!!!!

  2. My 9yo son loves getting stickers for his 2022 WC Panini book and constantly asks for more to help him complete his collection.

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