In the far west of NFTs, the big money stories of virtual football

As a child, Cyril collected Panini stickers, these images of football players that were exchanged on playgrounds. “I liked looking at them, touching them, turning the pages of the albums we stuck them in”, remembers this 42-year-old lawyer, supporter of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Today, on his computer, he contemplates the handful of cards he is the lucky owner of, but he cannot touch them. These digital versions of the good old Panini stickers are NFTs, non-fungible tokens or “non-fungible tokens”, i.e. unique digital objects, which cannot be copied or counterfeited. In the world of football, for example, these are figures of champions, videos of memorable goals or reproductions of trophies and jerseys.

Cyril, not much of a techno fanatic, discovered NFTs with the Covid-19, when confinement robbed his amateur football team of lawns. His partners offered him to play online on Sorare. “And then? “ he asked them.

Sorare, a French start-up born in 2018, is the epitome of “the excitement around NFTs”said the economic daily The echoes. At the start of each season, it issues 1,111 cards in NFT form for each of the football players of its partner clubs: 1,000 so-called “municipalities” and free and 111 “limited”paying and numbered – ie one hundred “special”ten “Super Rare” and one published in a single copy.

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Cyril is very proud of his nugget, Evanilson de Lima, a Brazilian striker from FC Porto, from whom he received a rare card for 150 euros. “Six months later I was offered 900 euros”, he is still surprised. Of course he is a bit disappointed that this young player does not appear in the ranks of the Auriverde selection at the World Cup in Qatar. But selling is out of the question, because he got caught up in the game. “I am very interested in his results and his lifestyle. » It’s like the stock market: the more the player shines, the more his rating rises.

At auction, certain unique cards reach stratospheric prices: 600,000 euros for Norwegian Erling Haaland; 416,000 euros for PSG star Kylian Mbappé; 394,000 euros for the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo. Not even the most coveted Panini stickers can compete: Ronaldo’s for the 2002-03 season brought in €71,186 in February; a lot from 1974 by Michel Platini and the Brazilian Pelé went for 80,000 euros on the eBay auction site.

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