I didn’t even know it and it’s not because he kept it very hidden, that goes, but it turns out that the colleague Sergi More has one of the most beastly collections of footballer sticker albums that exist in Catalonia. And he has it saved like gold in cloth. They say that more than one has provided them, not to keep them, no, as a gift, some other friend like the television xavi torres but, well, the truth is that the 70 albums that has, from all eras, Leagues, Euro Cups and World Cups, are treasured by the boy Sergi, undoubtedly helped by Papa Mas, the great one.

    This comes to mind, because the Qatar World Cupwhich is the first major competition to be held after the Covid-19 pandemic, a real ruin also for collectors, for boys and girls (they say that the first collection of stickers from the Women’s League will soon be out, they say) that They are passionate about the stamps of soccer players, it has broken all the records that have been and have been, not so much in the edition, sale and agglomeration of collections, but also in the attraction for this type of collecting, which dates back dozens and dozens of years.

    “I start to go crazy in the 70s, although my real passion grew in the 80s and 90s,” he explains. Sergi More before dozens of dozens of albums, I insist, almost all finished. “The stickers were a way to start building my personal and professional world. I think it was& rdquor ;, continues Sergi, laughing, “passion, sport, trading cards, football, ‘Don Balón’, sound, television and entertainment. I was intuiting a card, almost an envelope, and knowing which footballers were going to come out. Now, the Real Sociedad players get off the bus and I don’t know anyone.”

    During breaks, the refrain of “sile”, “nole”, SILE tengo, NOLE tengo, before changing the stickers

    But, they say, he was the king of exchange, of what has been called the ‘yes, no’which is nothing more than the abbreviation of what children say to each other when they start to change cards, right?: “SILE I have, NOLE I have & rdquor;. But Sergi did it in the streets of Horta, he didn’t trust his schoolmates, he didn’t want to exchange trading cards at ‘recre’. “I don’t know, I was afraid that they would ‘step on’ me. The street gave me more confidence.”

    The truth is that the overcoming (although the virus is still with us) of the pandemic, especially the end of the prohibitions in schools, coincided with the start of a new League and, above all, the preparations for a great World Cup. And there began, again, the madness of the collector and the desire of children, parents, uncles and godparents to have their own album.

    Messi’s chrome

    Luis Torrent, Managing Director of Panini Spain and, therefore, the person who knows the most about stickers (I don’t know if about football) in the world, is reluctant to give a figure but, in the end, he gives it to us: “This year we have put 100 million envelopes on the market, which, at the rate of five stickers per envelope, is 500 million stickers & rdquor ;.

    Torrent explains that, during the pandemic, everything stopped. “How the children were going to collect stickers in class, how they were going to exchange their stickers, how they were going to form huddles in the yard to see them, touch them and negotiate if they were forbidden, as was normal, of course, to borrow things, even the pencils and the erasers were marked with their names so that one child would not use the other’s. It was very hard for the business, for the game, the entertainment, the hobby and the fun stopped. Well, like almost everything & rdquor ;.

    When the hobby resumed, the madness, sales skyrocketed, the illusion. And, of course, the mess was formed, and in what way! with the Leo Messi sticker, in Argentina. Why? For two reasons: one, because it is the last World Cup that Messi plays in and, therefore, the last card of him; and two, because Argentina has gone crazy, crazy, for the albiceleste and, furthermore, they don’t see Messi in their competition, they don’t have a home collection with Leo stickers and, therefore, having Messi’s stamp with Argentina was everything a record, a prestige.

    The scandal, without Panini having anything to do with it, quite the opposite, was so far-reaching that the Argentine government was forced, a few months ago, to organize a meeting between a government representative, a representative of the newsstands and an executive from Panini. Everything, because the fans believed that Panini was deceiving them and published fewer stickers of Messi than of the other players. “Nothing like that, not to mention! & rdquor ;, explained the representative of Panini, “that has never been done, never!, nor will it be done & rdquor;.

    The Argentine government had to organize a meeting with its newsstands and Panini to show them that they made the same stickers of Messi as of all the other players

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    The problem was (is) as simple as that Argentina has prohibited all kinds of imports, including stickers, and you can only sell the stickers that are printed in your country. But there is an added, more serious problem and that is that, in Argentina, there are very few machines (four) for inserting envelopes and, therefore, the limitation on envelopes is a more than real fact. “A few weeks ago, I spoke with a journalist from ‘El País’, who has nothing to do with Sports, who told me that, to try, he had bought an envelope from our World Cup collection, one!, and nothing The more you open it, the first sticker that came out was that of Leo Messi& rdquor ;. And it is pure luck, coincidence.

    Torrent and Mas, yes, share the most social part, not just collecting but the fact that children (“well, children and parents, uncles and godparents, who are the ones who buy the envelopes & rdquor;) make collections soccer stickers “It forces them to be organized, it forces them to learn to keep track of what they have and what they lack, to order the ‘repes’, to make lists of those they persecute, learn to manage the money that their parents give them for snacks, breakfast and stickers, they learn to negotiate, so many stickers for one and, a detail, a sticker, for example, that of Leo Messi, can convert the shy child, the less leading child in the class, even the that they have a certain mania for him, in the king of the playground, of recess, of the class, because ‘so-and-so has Messi’ he runs like wildfire through school& rdquor ;.