Corinthian released ProStars series 39 to coincide with the 2008 European Championships, which were jointly hosted by Austria and Switzerland. The tournament commenced on the 7th June 2008 and was contested by the 16 teams who made it through qualification; sadly England was not one of those teams.
Corinthian ProStars series 39 comprised of 12 figures from 10 of the nations competing in the 2008 European Championships, the teams not represented in the series are the joint hosts Austria and Switzerland, along with Sweden, Turkey, Russia and Poland. This was a pre-emptive series by Corinthian, with the players selected those who they felt would shine at the tournament, they were not far wrong either.
Spain lit up the tournament with their fluid passing and attacking style and this style of play won them the tournament, as they beat Germany 1-0 in the Final. Integral to their success was David Villa, who finished as the tournaments top scorer with 4 goals and would be presented with the Golden boot. Sadly Villa played no part in the final due to injury.
This was the first time Villa had been released as a Corinthian, the facial sculpt is outstanding and no surprise he was chosen to be the joint highest blister release, with 2436 blisters produced. The David Villa figure was an instant hit and swiftly sold out and following his move to Barcelona, this collector wonders how many have been repainted into his club colours.
Also representing Spain in the series is Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, who had a superb tournament. Fabregas scored his first international goal in the 4-1 win over Russia, as well as scoring the winning penalty in the quarter final shoot out with Italy, after the game had finished goal less. Fabregas also assisted to of Spain’s goals in their 3-0 semi final win and went on to feature in the starting 11 for the final itself. As this was a pre-emptive series there were certain aspects Corinthian could not predict, one of those was the shirt number Fabregas would wear for the tournament. As it transpired Fabregas wore the number 10 shirt and not his usual number 18, hence why the figure in this series has him painted wearing the number 18 shirt.
Losing finalists Germany were represented in this series by young, Polish born striker Lukas Podolski. This proved to be a wise selection on Corinthians part, as Podolski had a very impressive tournament, scoring 3 goals and finishing joint second top goal scorer. A very fine sculpt and the first time Podolski had been released by Corinthian and like David Villa, I dare say many figures have been used for repainting into various club kits.
Holland entered the tournament with great expectations, they had a great squad which was full to the brim of quality and experience, and however this was not to be their year. Holland went out at the quarter final stage to Russia 3-1 after the game was 1-1 following 90 minutes play.
The 2 players chosen to represent Holland in this series were Robin Van Persie and Rafael Van der Vaart. Van Persie scored 2 goals in the tournament and was impressive throughout, with the figure being the same as seen in previous released. Van der Vaart was a first time release and Corinthian can be very proud of the figure, as it bore a huge resemblance to the player and was a near sell out upon its release. As with others in this series, I dare say a few Van der Vaart’s have been repainted into club kits.
France had a very disappointing tournament, however what was not disappointing was the first time release of Franck Ribery. The Ribery is a remarkable sculpt and very life like, it even features Ribery’s facial scars. Corinthian made Ribery the joint highest blister production in this series, with 2436 produced, the same number as Spain’s David Villa.
Corinthian must be applauded for their choice of player to represent Italy, it would have been very easy to repaint an existing figure of Del Piero, Pirlo or Buffon, however they bravely chose to appease the long term collector and create an entirely new sculpt, and the player chosen was Udinese striker Fabio Quagliarella. Quagliarella did not have a very good tournament and struggled for form and appearances. The figure however was a great seller, largely due to the interesting look of the figure and the fact it was a new player to add to long standing collections.
There was much talk about Portugal’s chances at this tournament; however a few of their players failed to produce on the big stage. Nani was Portugal’s representative in this series; however he only appeared in 1 game. A very nice repaint, however he rather got lost amongst the host of exciting new sculpts.
Romania’s captain Cristian Chivu was released for the very first time and like many in this series, the figure was very well received by all collectors. Romania went out at the group stages with Chivu captaining them for all 3 games. Defending champions Greece were represented by Stelios Ginnakopoulos, with the figure being the same as first seen in series 24. Corinthian knew a repaint of Stelios would not be a great seller, so adjusted the production volume accordingly, releasing just 1,086 blisters, and the lowest of any figure in this series.
Brazilian born striker Eduardo da Silva had scored 10 goals in 12 qualifying games, however the Croatian international never featured in the tournament itself, following a horrific injury picked up whilst playing for his club side Arsenal. The sculpt of Eduardo is superb and despite his absence from the tournament itself, the figure proved immensely popular with collectors new and old.
Completing the 12 figure line up for ProStars series 39 is another player who, due to injury, would not feature in the 2008 European Championships; this player is Czech Republics Tomasz Rosicky. The Rosicky figure is the same sculpt as used in ProStars series 35.
Corinthian once again produced 2 special edition figures for this series, with Franck Ribery and Robin Van Persie selected and painted in their respective national 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 22,408 blisters for this series, which was an incredibly low number and 281 blisters less than series 38. This series accompanied the 2008 European Championships perfectly and boasted an impressive 7 first time sculpts. It is safe to assume that many of the figures featured in this series will have been used for repainting purposes, due to the very successful club careers of the players featured in the series. It is however, a shame that Corinthian chose not to produce a box set of the tournament winners Spain, it would have required 6 new sculpt, 7 if you include manager Luis Aragones and I am confident in saying the pack will have sold out on pre order, an opportunity missed I feel.
Robin Van Persie
Rafael Van Der Vaart
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, click the link button below.
Robin Van Persie