Panini Road To Qatar Review

If you are a soccer fan, you are already well aware of the coming World Cup in Qatar. It will take place on November 21-December 18. Panini Italy makes a good deal of its money from World Cup-related products, which are mainstays for soccer collectors. We look at their new release and present you with the Panini Road To Qatar review.

On a personal note, I grew up collecting soccer stickers. So, these releases are incredibly fun for me to write about.

What Is The Road To Qatar?

Before Panini America cornered the NBA and NFL market, the Italian parent company became the soccer sticker giant. Soccer cards are getting very popular in the US, and American collectors should get to know this important release.

In particular, it gained a massive following through releases of its World Cup sticker albums. For decades, kids around the world would trade stickers in fervent attempts to complete the albums. There was always that one Uruguayan defender missing to complete your set!

In 2014, Panini expanded the international sticker release to include the qualification process. Since then, the Italian sticker giant has released a “Road To” album covering the qualification before releasing the marquee album for the tournament. The sets are released once every four years, about a year before the tournament.

Panini Road To Qatar Review: The Standard Set 

The release itself is a bit workmanlike. The stickers are all similar looking and are sparse with shiny designs. Most of the album is based around the various national teams, with stickers for around 15 players on each. Overall, there are 600 stickers in the set. So completing it can be quite a task.

There is also a pretty cool (this release brings out the eight-year-old in me) middle page where you can create your own dream team using stickers from the release.

The set is centered on the album (get the album on eBay)

Starter Pack

  • The Road To Qatar Album
  • 4 packs of stickers
  • 5 stickers per pack
  • Retails in the UK for £3.99
  • Available on eBay for $10.66

Massive Sticker Pack

  • 50 pack box
  • 5 stickers per pack
  • 250 stickers overall
  • Available on eBay for $60

Adrenalyn XL Binder Set

  • An Adrenalyn XL Binder
  • A limited-edition pack
  • 3 booster packs (8 cards each)
  • Available on eBay for $12.75

Adrenalyn XL Starter Set

What Countries Are In The Album?

Qualification for the tournament is not yet complete. Therefore, Panini had to engage in some guesswork when putting together the album. So, here are the teams they determined are most likely to qualify and/or attract consumers.

  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • England
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Russia
  • Scotland
  • Serbia
  • Spain
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Uruguay
  • USA
  • Wales
Most of the strong teams are represented, including the USA (get USA Road to Qatar stickers on eBay)

Panini Road To Qatar Review: The Adrenalyn XL Release

Adrenalyn XL is a different concept from the traditional Panini sticker. First released in 2009, it has seen releases for several markets since.

The stickers are used in a card game. It has proven quite popular in both Europe and South America.

The Road to Qatar release is part of the FIFA (international football) set of Adrenalyn XL cards. Here is the complete list of current Panini Adrenalyn XL sets:

  • Brasileirão – Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (Brazil)
  • Calciatori – Serie A (Italy)
  • FIFA 365 (International Soccer)
  • Premier League (England)
  • Ligue 1 (France)
  • UEFA Champions League (European club soccer)

The Road To Qatar Specs

Each team comes with 18 players.

The release comes in binders rather than an album. Since Panini Adrenalyn XL is a game rather than a collector set, each card must remain accessible. In addition, each binder has room for 9 players. Therefore, a team takes up two pages in the binder.

Types Of Cards

Panini Adrenalyn XL has cool categories to set unique and beneficial cards apart from the commons. Here are the types:

Titan

These cards refer to the largest and strongest players on each team. In addition, they often have the highest defensive ratings in the lineup.

Here is the complete list of these cards:

  1. Ramy Bensebaini (Algeria)
  2. Cristian Romero (Argentina)
  3. Aleksandar Dragovic (Austria)
  4. Thibaut Courtois (Belgium)
  5. Thiago Silva (Brazil)
  6. Guillermo Maripán (Chile)
  7. Yerry Mina (Colombia)
  8. Simon Kjær (Denmark)
  9. Harry Maguire (England)
  10. Raphaël Varane (France)
  11. Matthias Ginter (Germany)
  12. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
  13. Carlos Salcedo (Mexico)
  14. Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands)
  15. Wojciech Szczęsny (Poland)
  16. Rui Patrício (Portugal)
  17. Saad Al Sheeb (Qatar)
  18. Sergio Ramos (Spain)
  19. Manuel Akanji (Switzerland)
  20. Robin Olsen (Sweden)
  21. Fernado Muslera (Uruguay)

Magician

These cards describe the most creative player on the team. The one most likely to act as a playmaker and set up assists.

  1. Ismaël Bennacer (Algeria)
  2. Rodrigo De Paul (Argentina)
  3. Marcel Sabitzer (Austria)
  4. Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
  5. Lucas Paquetá (Brazil)
  6. Arturo Vidal (Chile)
  7. James Rodríguez (Colombia)
  8. Pierre Emile Højbjerg (Denmark)
  9. Phil Foden (England)
  10. N’Golo Kanté (France)
  11. Joshua Kimmich (Germany)
  12. Marco Verratti (Italy)
  13. Jesús Manuel Corona (Mexico)
  14. Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands)
  15. Piotr Zieliński (Poland)
  16. Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)
  17. Karim Boudiaf (Qatar)
  18. Thiago (Spain)
  19. Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)
  20. Emil Forsberg (Sweden)
  21. Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay)
Magicians are the players who make things happen (look for these cards on eBay)

Fan Favorite

The Fan Favorite cards are more common than the other designations, with three per team. The status of these players has less to do with their capabilities than other designations. It is more of a recognition of their popularity.

  1. Rais M’Bolhi (Algeria)
  2. Aïssa Mandi (Algeria)
  3. Adlène Guedioura (Algeria)
  4. Nicolás Otamendi (Argentina)
  5. Ángel Di María (Argentina)
  6. Nicolás Tagliafico (Argentina)
  7. Martin Hinteregger (Austria)
  8. Julian Baumgartlinger (Austria)
  9. Stefan Ilsanker (Austria)
  10. Toby Alderweireld (Belgium)
  11. Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
  12. Axel Witsel (Belgium)
  13. Marquinhos (Brazil)
  14. Casemiro (Brazil)
  15. Roberto Firmino (Brazil)
  16. Claudio Bravo (Chile)
  17. Mauricio Isla (Chile)
  18. Gary Medel (Chile)
  19. David Ospina (Colombia)
  20. Juan Cuadrado (Colombia)
  21. Wílmar Barrios (Colombia)
  22. Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark)
  23. Thomas Delaney (Denmark)
  24. Martin Braithwaite (Denmark)
  25. Jordan Pickford (England)
  26. Kyle Walker (England)
  27. John Stones (England)
  28. Hugo Lloris (France)
  29. Paul Pogba (France)
  30. Karim Benzema (France)
  31. Manuel Neuer (Germany)
  32. Antonio Rüdiger (Germany)
  33. Robin Gosens (Germany)
  34. Leonardo Bonucci (Italy)
  35. Giorgio Chiellini (Italy)
  36. Alessandro Florenzi (Italy)
  37. Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico)
  38. Héctor Moreno (Mexico)
  39. Andrés Guardado (Mexico)
  40. Jasper Cillessen (Netherlands)
  41. Daley Blind (Netherlands)
  42. Stefan de Vrij (Netherlands)
  43. Kamil Glik (Poland)
  44. Maciej Rybus (Poland)
  45. Grzegorz Krychowiak (Poland)
  46. Pepe (Portugal)
  47. João Moutinho (Portugal)
  48. William Carvalho (Portugal)
  49. Abdelkarim Hassan (Qatar)
  50. Boualem Khoukhi (Qatar)
  51. Abdelaziz Hatim (Qatar)
  52. Jordi Alba (Spain)
  53. Koke (Spain)
  54. Sergio Busquets (Spain)
  55. Yann Sommer (Switzerland)
  56. Ricardo Rodríguez (Switzerland)
  57. Granit Xhaka (Switzerland)
  58. Ludwig Augustinsson (Sweden)
  59. Sebastian Larsson (Sweden)
  60. Albin Ekdal (Sweden)
  61. Martin Cáceres (Uruguay)
  62. José Giménez (Uruguay)
  63. Diego Godín (Uruguay)

Goal Machine

Players with a strong knack for scoring. Think of someone like Polish striker Robert Lewandowski or French goal-poacher Karim Benzema.

  1. Islam Slimani (Algeria)
  2. Sergio Agüero (Argentina)
  3. Marko Arnautovic (Austria)
  4. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
  5. Neymar Jr (Brazil)
  6. Alexis Sánchez (Chile)
  7. Luis Muriel (Colombia)
  8. Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark)
  9. Harry Kane (England)
  10. Olivier Giroud (France)
  11. Timo Werner (Germany)
  12. Ciro Immobile (Italy)
  13. Raúl Jiménez (Mexico)
  14. Memphis Depay (Netherlands)
  15. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
  16. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
  17. Hassan Alhaydos (Qatar)
  18. Álvaro Morata (Spain)
  19. Haris Seferović (Switzerland)
  20. Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden)
  21. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)

Power Trio

  1. Zerrouki / Belaïli / Mahrez (Algeria)
  2. Messi / Martínez / González (Argentina)
  3. Baumgartner / Sabitzer / Alaba (Austria)
  4. De Bruyne / Tielemans / Witsel (Belgium)
  5. Gabriel Jesus / Firmino / Neymar Jr (Brazil)
  6. Bravo / Maripán / Medel (Chile)
  7. Zapata / Muriel / Falcao García (Colombia)
  8. Schmeichel / Christensen / Kjær (Denmark)
  9. Rashford / Kane / Sancho (England)
  10. Lloris / Kimpembe / Hernández (France)
  11. Ginter / Koch / Klostermann (Germany)
  12. Immobile / Belotti / Insigne (Italy)
  13. Guardado / Álvarez / Lainez (Mexico)
  14. van Dijk / de Ligt / de Vrij (Netherlands)
  15. Lewandowski / Milik / Piątek (Poland)
  16. Bernardo Silva / Danilo Pereira / Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)
  17. Alrawi / Khoukhi / Salman (Qatar)
  18. Koke / Sergio Busquets / Thiago (Spain)
  19. Sommer / Elvedi / Akanji (Switzerland)
  20. Ekdal / Olsson /Forsberg (Sweden)
  21. Muslera / Godín / Giménez (Uruguay)

 Rising Star

The players in this list are the wonder kids with a chance to break out in the Qatar World Cup. I very much agree with the selection, especially Cardlines favorite Kai Havertz.

  1. Ranuz Zerrouki (Algeria)
  2. Nicolás González (Argentina)
  3. Christoph Baumgartner (Austria)
  4. Jérémy Doku (Belgium)
  5. Vinicius Jr (Brazil)
  6. Benjamin Brereton (Chile)
  7. Luis Díaz (Colombia)
  8. Mikkel Damsgaard (Denmark)
  9. Jude Bellingham (England)
  10. Jules Koundé (France)
  11. Kai Havertz (Germany)
  12. Moise Kean (Italy)
  13. Diego Lainez (Mexico)
  14. Ryan Gravenberch (Netherlands)
  15. Jakub Moder (Poland)
  16. Nuno Mendes (Portugal)
  17. Mohammed Al Bayati (Qatar)
  18. Pedri (Spain)
  19. Ruben Vargas (Switzerland)
  20. Jens-Lys Cajuste (Sweden)
  21. Facundo Torres (Uruguay)
Is Jude Bellingham a future super star? (look for more rising stars on eBay)

Game Changer

The sort of creative players that can alter a game with one touch. Players who can slice a defense apart with either a pass or a dribble.

  1. Sofiane Feghouli (Algeria)
  2. Lautaro Martínez (Argentina)
  3. David Alaba (Austria)
  4. Eden Hazard (Belgium)
  5. Gabriel Jesus (Brazil)
  6. Eduardo Vargas (Chile)
  7. Edwin Cardona (Colombia)
  8. Joakim Mæhle (Denmark)
  9. Raheem Sterling (England)
  10. Antoine Griezmann (France)
  11. İlkay Gündoğan (Germany)
  12. Federico Chiesa (Italy)
  13. Hirving Lozano (Mexico)
  14. Georginio Wijnaldum (Netherlands)
  15. Arkadiusz Milik (Poland)
  16. João Félix (Portugal)
  17. Almoez Ali (Qatar)
  18. Ferran Torres (Spain)
  19. Mario Gavranović (Switzerland)
  20. Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden)
  21. Federico Valverde (Uruguay)

Rare Cards

The rare cards are available with the following odds.

Top Master (1:16 Packs)

Players are among the top 20 in the world but a notch below the Invincibles. I was surprised to see Messi here behind Ronaldo. Messi fans will be rightfully outraged!

Invincibles (1:55 Packs)

The best players in the game, those with the highest scores, are known as the Invincibles. They include world-beating stars.

3. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)

  1. Davis Alaba (Austria)
  2. Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Panini Road To Qatar Review: Guide To Playing Adrenalyn XL 

Each player is given a rating based on their estimated real-life playing capabilities. The numerical ratings appear in the top left-hand corner of each card.

Ratings are made on a scale of 1-100. The categories are:

  • Attack
  • Defence (it’s a release for the British market, so that is how they spell it)
  • Game Control

The cards also showcase the positions of the players. You can find the position on the back of the Adrenalyn XL cards. However, they do not get too specific positions (so they won’t tell you who a right-sided defender is, for example). Instead, they are provided with general field placements:

  • Goalkeeper
  • Defender
  • Midfielder
  • Forward

The aim is to score more goals than your opponent.

Adrenylyn XL is a really fun game (picture taken from Panini)

Steps In Playing The Game

  • Build your team lineup
  • The lineup must include 14 players: a goalkeeper, 10 outfield players, and 3 substitutes.
  • Set your most potent lineup. But keep in mind that you cannot have more than 5 players in each pitch area. So, for example, you can play with 3 defenders, 5 midfielders, and 2 forwards. However, you cannot try to play 6 midfielders.
  • Suit your formation to the strength of your best players.
  • Flip a coin to see who goes first.
  • Play a chosen card. You can only play each card once during a specific game.
  • Cards are placed upside down, so the other player does not see the player’s rating.
  • The defensive player chooses a player to counter.
  • Compare the attack rating to the defense rating.
  • Defender game control values are compared with attacker game control values.
  • The player with the higher value scores a goal.
  • If there is a tie, the players add up all of the values on each card (attack, defense, and ball control). The player with the highest overall value scores. If these values are also equal, there is an overall draw.
  • Players can also play modification cards. For example, some cards can give you attacking, defensive, or game control bonuses. But you can only play each one once.
  • You can bring on one of your three substitutes at any point during the game.
  • The winner starts the next round, and the loser takes the responsive position.
  • The game is over when all cards are played. The winner is the player scoring the most goals.

When attacking, you compare the ratings of your player against those of the defending player.

Panini Road To Qatar Review Of Value

There is little to talk about in terms of value for these releases. The Road To series is popular with soccer fans. However, they do not treat them as collector items. Instead, it is a fun set to collect or play with (in the case of the Adrenalyn XL releases).

Let’s look at how albums from previous years have held value.

World Cup Album + Full Set
Road to Brazil 2014 $89
Road to Russia 2014 $79

Bottomline Of The Panini Road To Qatar review

The Road to Qatar is an entertaining set to complete. They are a great way to get psyched up for the biggest tournament in the soccer world (and probably the sports world more generally). After writing this, I am pretty sure I will buy a set. But don’t expect to get any value out of it. Panini massively produces these for kids all around the world.

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is a former history and political science professor at UCLA. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary. Shai also worked as a diplomat and journalist on three continents.