Corinthian released ProStars series 32 on the 20th of May 2006, at the Corinthian convention. ProStars series 32 saw Corinthian do away with the themed series and reverted back to the generic series packaging.
This series made Corinthian history as it was the first time a player from Italian side Messina was released in a regular ProStars series, the player chosen was Atsushi Yanagisawa. Corinthian’s love affair with the Japanese market was undoubtedly the main reason behind this figure being released. Messina were by no means a force in Italian football and Yanagisawa was certainly not a star, unlike Nakata or Nakamura, however Corinthian knew the figure would sell in great quantities, in fact Yanagisawa was the 2nd highest produced figure in this series.
Collectors in the Far East were treated to another figure, as South Korean Young-Pyo Lee was released in the kit of Tottenham Hotspur. Lee had made a big impact since joining from PSV Eindhoven; however he could be somewhat a frustrating character, putting in a stellar performance one week and an abysmal one the next. This figure did not prove to be as popular as one would have imagined, in fact only 1,694 blisters were released of Lee, and I wonder how many were sold to collectors in Japan.
The headline grabbing star from ProStars series 32 is undoubtedly Ronaldinho in the home kit of Barcelona. This sculpt of Ronaldinho is in my opinion the finest sculpt of this player Corinthian ever produced. My reasoning behind this is that the figure did not just very closely resemble the player; it also captured the character and attitude of the player. Ronaldinho was in top form at this time and at the peak of his popularity, so Corinthian capitalised on this by producing in excess of 9,000 blisters, making him the highest manufactured figure in this series. Ronaldinho alone accounted for around 30% of the entire series blister production! Despite the vast number of Ronaldinho blisters produced, he was still very hard to come by, due in large to his overwhelming commercial appeal.
Fans of Italy’s Serie A had a further 3 figures to add to their collections. AC Milan were represented by hard working midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, this was a new sculpt of Gattuso and in my opinion it was an improvement on the previous sculpt. The Gattuso was the 3rd highest produced in this series, with 3,227 blisters manufactured.
You could not have an AC Milan figure released without also releasing an Inter Milan figure, so Juan Sebastian Veron was chosen to represent the Blue half of Milan. Veron did not have the best of times in English football, so when Mourinho arrived at Chelsea, Veron was loaned out to Inter Milan, this would eventually revive the Argentines career. This Veron sculpt is the same as we saw in all previous releases of the player.
Of course we could not neglect ’The Old Lady’ so Gianluigi Buffon was released in the kit of Juventus. Regarded by most to be the best goal keeper in the World at this time and who could argue with that. This Buffon sculpt is the same as was used in ProStars series 20.
Arsenal were celebrating their last season playing at Highbury by wearing shirts reminiscent of the ones worn in 1913, which was the first season Arsenal played at Highbury. Fredrik Ljungberg was released in this new kit, with the sculpt being the same as used for the FA Cup winning celebration pack.
Chelsea’s new Spanish signing Asier Del Horno, who transferred from Athletic Bilbao for £8,000,000, made his first and only appearance as a Corinthian. The Del Horno figure proved hugely popular, as did most first time sculpts. A very nice sculpt and a must for all Chelsea fans.
Liverpool’s midfield maestro Xabi Alonso was released for the first time in a regular ProStars series, after first featuring in the Liverpool Champions League winner’s box set a few months previously. The Alonso of course proved popular with all collectors, as it gave the casual collector the chance to add him to their collections, without having to purchase the Liverpool box set.
Manchester United was of course included in this series, representing them is Dutch goal keeping legend Edwin Van Der Sar. This was the first series release of Van Der Sar since his inclusion in ProStars Series 5, a long overdue re release for sure. Corinthian produced a new sculpt of Van Der Sar for this series and it far surpasses it predecessor and would be used for all future releases of the legendary shot stopper.
A surprise inclusion in this series was that of Bolton Wanderers Mexican forward Jared Borgetti. Borgetti came with a huge reputation and was a leading goal scorer in his home land, however he never captured that form in the Premiership and spent just one season at the Reebok and scored a measly 2 goals. All that said it is still a very fine figure and I am sure Bolton Wanderers fans were just grateful to have any figure released in their clubs colours. Corinthian knew demand for this figure would be significantly lower than the others in this series, so produced just 1,393 blisters, the 2nd lowest amount in this series.
Completing the ProStars series 32 line up is Croatian striker Dado Prso, here released in the kit of Rangers. Prso was first released as a Corinthian in ProStars series 24, in the Croatia home kit, so given how this was a repaint; Corinthian adjusted the production volume accordingly. Only 1,154 blisters of Prso were produced, making him the lowest produced figure in this series.
Corinthian once again produced 2 special edition figures for this series, with AC Milan’s Gennaro Gattuso and Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso, 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 just 35,346 blisters for this series, which was considerably less than the previous few series, it would have been significantly lower still had Ronaldinho not been included, he accounted for 30% of all blisters produced, with a whopping 9,003 blisters manufactured! The figure produced in the lowest volume was Dado Prso with just 1,154 blisters produced.
I myself attended the 2006 Corinthian convention and recall having difficulty in obtaining all the figures I wanted from this seires. I was about half way in the queue for the ‘new releases section’ and upon reaching the front of the queue I was told that most of the figures had already sold out! The likes of Ronaldinho, Yanagisawa, Lee, Del Horno and Alonso were long gone, although I could have as many Prso’s as I wanted! I feel the reason behind this vast sell out was perhaps Corinthian both over stocking their Japanese distributors and underestimating the demand from collectors attending the convention. On a positive note I did obtain a Ronaldinho in Platinum pack free, via the ‘Pick & Mix’ section!
Asier del Horno
Edwin Van Der Sar
Juan Sebastian Veron
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, click the link button opposite.