BRAZIL CRAQUES DA BOLA
In December 2007, Corinthian released a series of 10 ProStars figures in Brazil, this series was called 'Craques Da Bola' which translates from Portuguese to read 'Ball Stars' and featured 10 players in their club kits. The figures were sold throughout Brazil by DTC (Direct Toys Company)
This series proved to be very controversial, just due to the complexity and problems collectors outside Brazil encountered when trying to acquire these figures. For a long time it was widely accepted that not all 10 were released, it was assumed by collectors that just 2 had been released, as they were the only 2 which had been seen, those being Rooney and Ronaldinho.
I myself used to scour sites in Brazil in the vain hope of finding the elusive 8 figures and my trawling and persistence finally paid off when i encountered a seller who was advertising not just 1 or 2 figures, but full sets! I enlisted the help of a friend in Brazil and was able to import 20 full sets in blister pack, which to my knowledge were the only sets to ever have been imported.
So onto the figures themselves, the set was largely made up of Latin America players, with the English Premier League, Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga being represented. Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were released in the home kit of Manchester United, with Thierry Henry for Arsenal completing the English Premier League trio. The Rooney and Henry were both released as part of ProStars Series 35, the figures are exactly the same baring the different PRO code, the same applies for Cristiano Ronaldo, who was previously released in ProStars series 34.
There was a trio of figures from Barcelona, Ronaldinho was a re issue from ProStars Series 35 with a subtle difference. The Brazil Craques Da Bola version actually features his name and number on the back of his shirt, the ProStars Series 35 version does not. The other 2 Barcelona figures are unique and exclusive to this Brazil series, those 2 being Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi.
AC Milan also had a trio of figures released, with Kaka and Cafu both being solely exclusive and unique to this series. Making up the trio was Ronaldo, the figure is the same sculpt and kit as the ProStars Series 37 version, with a couple of subtle changes. The Brazil CDB series has him with Gold boots and name and number on the back of his shirt in White, the ProStars Series 37 version has the opposite, White boots and name and number in Gold, with his hair being a much lighter shade in the Brazil series issue.
Completing the collection is Brazilian power forward Adriano, in the home kit of Inter Milan. This is the most unique of all figures released in this series, as the kit is so distinctive from any other previously released Adriano figure and is my favourite from the set.
Each figure was released in single blister packaging with collector card, with the reverse of the card having a 'Dados Da Craque' or 'Star Data' which told you all about each player. No Platinum packs were released for this series and Corinthian never disclosed how many of each figure were produced, i can only speculate and make assumptions as to what the production volume will have been. At that time Corinthian were producing around 2500 of a standard series blister, and the Mexico national 2006 set had 3,186 of each made, i have always felt this Brazil Craques Da Bola series was roughly the same amount, somewhere in the region of 2,000 - 3,000 but it is impossible to say.
The figures are incredibly rare and highly sought after, with Cristiano Ronaldo appearing on many a collectors wanted list, the same can be said for Manchester United team mate Wayne Rooney and Barcelona's Lionel Messi, it is those 3 which are in more demand and can sell for much more than the others.
PRO1626 - Ronaldinho - Barcelona - Home 2007/08
PRO1627 - Kaka- AC Milan - Home 2007/08
PRO1628 - Lionel Messi - Barcelona - Home 2007/08
PRO1629 - Ronaldo - AC Milan - Home 2007/08
PRO1630 - Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United - Home 2007/08
PRO1631 - Adriano - Inter Milan - Home 2007/08
PRO1632 - Samuel Eto'o - Barcelona - Home 2007/08
PRO1633 - Thierry Henry - Arsenal - Home 2007/08
PRO1634 - Wayne Rooney - Manchester United - Home 2007/08
PRO1635 - Cafu - AC Milan - Home 2007/08