Corinthian released ProStars series 38 in the early part of 2008, their first series release of the New Year. A 12 figure strong line comprising of 5 first time sculpts, which brought together the best players from the English Premier league, Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga.
The solitary La Liga representative was Barcelona’s Thierry Henry, with the figure being a repaint of the one released in ProStars series 33. Despite this being a repaint, it was still the 3rd highest produced blister in this series.
Fans of both AC Milan and Inter Milan were treated to first time sculpts in this series. AC Milan had Czech Republic international Marek Jankulovski released in a standard ProStars series for the first time, a fine sculpt and a welcome addition to any AC Milan collection.
The Blue half on Milan was represented by Brazilian right back Maicon. This was a highly anticipated figure following Maicon’s impressive display for Inter Milan; his attacking full back style earned him great praise, whilst also drawing inevitable comparison to legendary Brazilian full back Cafu. This was the first release of Maicon; however Corinthian produced little over 1,200 blisters of him and given his ever increasing popularity has made the figure hard to find in the secondary market, especially in blister format.
Roma signed Ludovic Giuly from Barcelona for the start of the 2007/08 season and during the one season he spent in Rome he scored 6 goals in 32 appearances for the club. Giuly had been released on numerous occasions before, however this was his first appearance in a standard ProStars series.
Completing the quartet of Serie A figures in this series is Vincenzo Iaquinta. Juventus signed Iaquinta from Udinese for around £10,000,000, however Iaquinta found getting into the regular first time rather difficult, with Del Piero and Trezeguet the preferred partnership up front, despite this Iaquinta still found the net 8 times in 24 appearances. This figure had featured previously in ProStars multi packs; however this was the first time Iaquinta had appeared in a standard ProStars series.
Arsenal signed up and coming French defender Bacary Sagna from French club Auxerre in the summer of 2007, for a fee believed to be around £10,000,000. Sagna quickly established himself in the Arsenal first team and his consistent high performances adorned him to the Gunners faithful. This was the first time Sagna had been released as a ProStar and became an instant collector’s favourite and very quickly sold out! His popularity with collectors can no doubt be attributed to his interesting dreadlocked hairstyle, which draws obvious comparisons to the Taribo West figure released back in 2000. A very interesting figure and one of my personal all time favourite sculpts and a must for any collection.
Chelsea were also represented by a new signing, this player being powerful winger Florent Malouda, who signed for the Blues from French side Lyon in the Summer, for around £13,000,000. Malouda was an instant hit at Chelsea, putting in some fantastic display in his first few games for the club, with his figure proving very popular too. A superb sculpt which captured the likeness and powerful playing style of the man himself.
Liverpool too could boast an expensive new signing, securing the services of Spaniard Fernando Torres from Athletico Madrid for around £20,000,000. Torres was one of Europe’s hottest talents and was a consistent scorer in Spain’s La Liga for the previous five seasons. Torres became an instant idol of the Kop, thanks to his tremendous first season where he scored 24 league goals in just 33 league appearances! Torres had been released as a Corinthian before, however this version was an entirely new sculpt and a vast improvement on the previous effort.
Manchester United collectors had 2 new figures to add to their collections, both of which were new signings acquired in the summer. Owen Hargreaves finally completed his move from German outfit Bayern Munich, following a lengthy negotiation, with the selling fee reported to be around the £17,000,000 mark. Hargreaves made 23 league appearances for United that season and picked up a Premier League winner’s medal, however he would suffer terribly from injuries in the seasons to come. Hargreaves first appeared as a Corinthian back in ProStars series 15 in his England shirt, however the figure released in this series was an entirely new sculpt and a much improved one it is too.
Carlos Tevez made the switch from troubled West Ham United to Manchester United and became a cult hero for the Old Trafford faithful. Tevez appeared in the majority of United’s games for the 2007/08 season, scoring 14 goals along the way, helping United to win the Premier League title. This was the first time Tevez had been released by Corinthian, a very impressive sculpt despite the omission of Tevez’s facial scarring. Tevez has never been bothered by the scarring he has on his neck following a fire, so I can only assume the sculptors chose not to sculpt Tevez with his scars at the request of Corinthian, who perhaps felt the figure would sell better to all ages ranges without the scars. The Tevez figure was the highest produced figure in this series, with 3,629 blisters produced.
Competing the line up for ProStars series 38 are 2 figures for West Ham United, both were new additions the Hammers squad following the Summer transfer market. West Ham spent £7,500,000 on securing the services of Welsh international Craig Bellamy from Liverpool. Injury hampered his first season with the Hammers, managing just 8 league appearances and scoring just 2 goals. The sculpt of Bellamy was the same as released back in ProStars series 19 and is the lowest produced blister in this series, with just 1,115 blisters produced.
Fredrik Ljungberg left Arsenal after 9 very successful seasons to join West Ham United, making 25 league appearances and netting twice in his one and only season for the Hammers. The sculpt of Ljungberg was the same as released in the Arsenal FA Cup winners 6 pack.
Corinthian once again produced 2 special edition figures for this series, with first time sculpts Maicon and Bacary Sagna selected and 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 a mere 22,689 blisters for this series, which was an incredibly low number, especially considering the series boasted 5 first time sculpts and many World class players. This series was a fantastic balance of established stars and up coming new talent. The first time sculpts of Maicon, Malouda, Tevez and Sagna made this a very attractive set for the long term collector, whilst at the same time appealed to the casual and new collector. For me the stand out figure in the series is Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna, such an eye catching sculpt and one of my all time favourite figures.
West Ham United
West Ham United
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