Panini’s World Cup stickers are part of the folklore and fabric of the greatest event in world sport.
Kids – and adults – collect and trade the stickers with fervour, doing their all to be the first to complete their album before their mates.
So this is a pretty funny and quirky feature from Eurosport, showing the change in players’ stickers from 2006 to 2014; the intervening 8 years have generally been good to these young men.
Cristiano’s change from 2006 to 2014 is truly staggering, it’s like two different people. The overcast Manchester sky had left Ronaldo with a kind of wan and puffy face, the Madrid sunshine’s been a lot kinder to his skin texture and tone.
Messi looked like a little street urchin from a Dickens novel back in 2006; he’s grown into an altogether more presentable and handsome specimen.
Andrea Pirlo’s remained largely the same, though he has grown that beard that’s seen him become every football hipster’s number 1 man crush, the facial hair giving his nobility, gravitas, and an air of wisdom.
Arjen Robben’s face hasn’t changed much. His cranium has though.
Finally, Andres Iniesta has barely changed an iota in the 8 years. That’s graceful ageing!