Corinthian continued the position themed series by releasing Prostars Series 28 Demon Defenders, which comprised of 16 figures, all of whom are defenders. This series was released on the 11th of April 2005. This series gave us a staggering 10 first time sculpts, along with 4 re sculpts of existing figures and just 2 repaints, quite a line up. The list of players released is incredibly strong with some of the World’s very best defenders included. With established stars and emerging talent both included in equal measure.
The Italian style of play has always been tagged with being a little more defensive than its European counterparts, this is by no means a criticism as it makes for very tactical play and has always been a breeding ground for the World’s best defenders, so no surprise to see 5 players from Serie A included in this series.
Fabio Cannavaro was re sculpted to display his new shaven head and he was produced in the highest volume, with 5,850 blisters manufactured. Experienced Dutch defender Jaap Stam featured in a regular Prostars series for the first time since series 2, this time in the home kit of AC Milan, The Stam figure is the same sculpt as used in series 2; it is a very accurate sculpt so Corinthian saw no need to change it.
Colombian international Ivan Cordoba was at last released for Inter Milan, a long overdue figure in my opinion and this Demon Defenders range was the perfect opportunity to release the figure. A very fine sculpt and a real favourite amongst collectors. Philippe Mexes was by now really making a name for himself as one of the World’s best defensive talents and the figure Corinthian released of him in his Roma kit was a perfect likeness, he was even sculpted with his pony tail hair style and this was the first time Mexes had featured in a regular Prostars series.
Completing the line up from Serie A is Lazio’s Portuguese defender Fernando Couto. This was an entirely new sculpt of Couto, who’s only previous appearance as a Corinthian was as part of the Headliners Super Campeos range of Portuguese national figures, way back in 1998. It was pleasing to see Corinthian did not simply repaint the 1998 version of Couto, as the player had changed a lot since then but not only that it would have detracted value from the 1998 figure and perhaps made it less collectable. This new version of Couto was ’spot on’ and of course featured his headband along with his 2 distinct moles.
Spain’s La Liga was represented by Barcelona’s Mexican international Rafael Marquez, the first series release of the player and a very fine addition to any collection and pleasing to see Corinthian did not simply re-release Barca’s Puyol instead choosing to release a new first time sculpt.
During Arsene Wengers reign at Arsenal he had really transformed them from the ‘boring, boring 1-0 Arsenal’ days of George Graham, into a real exciting attacking force, however this was only possible by having a solid, dependable back line. At the heart of the defence was Ivorian Kolo Toure, initially singed by Wenger as a midfielder, he was transformed into one of the league’s top defenders and this was the first release of the player in a regular Prostars series.
Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur also had a new figure released, with Noureddine Naybet chosen for inclusion in this series. A veteran at 34 when he joined the club, he proved to be an interregnal part of the defence throughout the 2004/05 season. This proved to be the first and only release of the Moroccan.
Chelsea, backed by Roman Abramovich’s millions, infested heavily for the 2004/05 season and spent around £25,000,000 on Portuguese international Fernando Carvalho, who had previously played under manager Jose Mourinho at FC Porto. Carvalho’s partnership with John Terry at the heart of the Chelsea defence was a huge factor behind their capture of the Premiership title that season, with the new signing forming an immediate partnership with the legendary Chelsea captain. This was the first release of the player and a real favourite from this series, simply a must for any Chelsea collector.
Rafael Benitez had taken charge of Liverpool in the summer of 2004 and his first signing as manager was Josemi, who cost just £2,000,000 from Spanish side Malaga. Josemi had a decent first season but lost his place to Steve Finnan and was sold mid way through the 2005/06 season. A great sculpt but given his lack of time at the club, it really is just one for the avid collector.
Manchester United are a club who have always been able to boast some truly World class defenders, so no surprise to see this series feature 2 from the famous club. Rio Ferdinand was an obvious choice for inclusion and Corinthian re sculpted the player following his change in hair style, however I personally feel the series 19 version of Ferdinand is better than this one. Rio was joined by new signing, Gabriel Heinze, who marked his debut for the club by scoring in a 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers. The Heinze sculpt is a perfect likeness of the Argentine international and sold incredibly well.
Manchester United’s near rivals Manchester City also boated a new sculpt, with Danny Mills the player selected. The first time Mills had been released by Corinthian, it also proved to be the last. Mills was produced in the lowest quantity, with just 2007 blisters manufactured, which proved to be just 1 fewer than that of Stephen Carr for Newcastle United, who had 2,008 blisters produced. The Carr figure was a re sculpt, he had first featured in Prostars series 12.
Legendary Spaniard Fernando Hierro joined Bolton in the summer of 2004 and immediately established himself as a crowd favourite and brought a touch of class to the defence. Hierro was first released in Prostars series 18, so this gave collectors who missed out first time a welcome opportunity to add a truly World class player to their collection.
Completing the line up for this series is Middlesbrough’s Michael Reiziger. The experienced Dutchman arrived on a free transfer after his contract at Barcelona expired; he spent just 1 season at Boro before returning back to his native Holland to play for PSV Eindhoven. The Reiziger sculpt is stunning and my personal favourite from this series, a facial sculpt packed with character and detail and was, for me at least, the stand out figure from this series.
Corinthian produced 2 special edition figures for this series, with Rio Ferdinand and Ricardo Carvalho chosen, both were painted in their respective clubs away kits. However, no redemption tokens were produced; instead you were able to purchase the figures direct from Corinthian in sachet format with card, for £5 per figure. In addition, collectors who purchased a case assortment received the 2 redemption figures free; this was perfect for the long time collector who wanted every figure released.
In total, Corinthian produced 58,380 blisters for this series, a very low number given the recent volumes and it was the lowest overall production volume since Prostars series 23 and almost half that of series 21.
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, click the link button opposite.