Corinthian released a set of 12 figures in the Portuguese national strip, a set which; over time, has become very collectable. The set was released in September 1998 and was distributed by a company called 'Concentra' the same company which also distributed the Portugal club side figures.
The set differed from the other national sets Corinthian released under the Headliners banner, as no goal keeper was included in the line-up instead 12 outfield players were selected.
From the 12 figures released 4 of those have never again been released by Corinthian, those 4 are
Beto, Fernando Couto, Sa Pinto, Dominguez. All are great sculpts, 3 of which were intended to be released as part of the Portugal club range of figures but sadly the figures were pulled from the range, only the unreleased master models exist. Fernando Couto has been released by Corinthian subsequently but the sculpt is entirely different and was part of 'Prostars series 28-Demon Defenders.'
A further 5 of these figures were mere repaints of figures previously released in their club kits. 4 of these repaints had been released in the Portuguese club range of figures, those 4 being Oceano Cruz and Pedro Barbosa, both released in the colours of Sporting Lisbon, Jorge Costa who was released for FC Porto and Joao Pinto who was released in the famous kit of Benfica. Making up the repaints were Cesar Manuel Rui Costa, previously released
for Fiorentina in the 1st series of Italian Superstars.
The remaining 3 figures were all first time sculpts and all have been released by Corinthian again. Paulo Sousa was going to be released in the club colours of Juventus but he secured a move to German side Borussia Dortmund before the figure could be released, making this the only figure of him released in the Headliner range, however, he has been released a few times in the Prostars range.
Sergio Conceicao was another first time sculpt and the only version of him in the Headliners range, although he was intended to be released for FC Porto but the figure was pulled from the range once the player secured a move to Italian side Lazio in 1998, only the unreleased master model remains.
The crown in this set is without question Luis Figo, this was the very first release of such a legendary player, he has been released many times by Corinthian since this figure was released and the same sculpt was used for Prostars series 5 and for the club gold release. This was considered to be Portugal's 'Golden Generation' and it is hard to believe that this team won no honours during it's time, however Corinthian immortalised them by releasing such a fine and detailed set of figures.
All of these figures are still very difficult to find today and are highly sought after. Originally released in Portugal, Corinthian did manage to acquire a very limited number of these blister packs and sold them at the convention and some even found their way to the official collector centres but the stock was very swiftly snapped up by savvy collectors.
All 12 Portugal national figures were released as single blister, no 4 player packs were produced and Corinthian decided against producing a 12 player box set, a real shame as that would have been a very nice collectors piece and would have certainly rivalled the Norway 12 pack in terms or value, rarity and collectability.
Each figure came issued with a collector card and also a collectors information file which displayed the full range of figures available. There are 2 things to mention with regards the Collector Cards. First being the Oceano Cruz has the collector code as being POR033, however the code found on the figure is POR001, the second is that Jose Dominguez is POR038 however the collector card incorrectly has his code as being POR039.
The collectors information file also listed by name 2 Portugal national kit Headliners which were never released, those being Domingos Pacienca and Vitor Baia.
The full line up of Portugal National kit figures is:
- POR001 - Oceano Cruz - Portugal - Home
- POR002 - Pedro Barbosa - Portugal - Home
- POR007 - Jorge Costa - Portugal - Home
- POR013 - Joao Pinto - Portugal - Home
- POR036 - Ricardo Sa Pinto - Portugal - Home
- POR038 - Jose Dominguez - Portugal - Home
- POR039 - Paulo Sousa - Portugal - Home
- POR040 - Manuel Rui Costa - Portugal - Home
- POR041 - Luis Figo - Portugal - Home
- POR042 - Fernando Couto - Portugal - Home
- POR045 - Beto - Portugal - Home
- POR046 - Sergio Conceicao - Portugal Home
Ricardo Sá Pinto
Manuel Rui Costa