Some of football sticker fanatic Gianni Bellini’s huge collection will be on display in Cork next month.

Sticker around for this unique exhibition

An exhibition of football stickers featuring Ireland and Italy at the 1990, 1994 and 2002 World Cups will be launched in Cork next month.

With World Cup 2022 just around the corner, ‘Chasing the Ball’ will feature hundreds of trading cards and stickers from one of the world’s leading collectors, Gianni Bellini.

With both Italy and Ireland having failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Qatar, the exhibition aims to celebrate the close ties between the two nations in the finals of past tournaments. The exhibition will launch on 13 November in St Peter's Exhibition Hall on North Main Street and will run until 7 December. Promoted by the Italian Institute of Culture in Dublin, the exhibition will display a series of albums, stickers, trading cards, drawings and original materials related to the 1990, 1994 and 2002 competitions.

As a collector, Bellini has attracted the attention of major international publications, including L'Equipe and the football magazine FourFourTwo, in addition to TV networks like CBS, CNN and the History Channel.

His collection currently consists of more than 4,000 albums from all over the world, complete with around 2,500,000 stickers and cards, which fully encompass the entire history of football.

Speaking ahead of the exhibition, Ambassador of Italy to Ireland, Ruggero Corrias, said the exhibition will give visitors the chance to get to know the great World Cup players, especially the tournament played in Italy in which Ireland reached the knockout stages for the first time.

“In the 1990 tournament, as well as the following one held in 1994 in the United States of America, the two national teams faced each other in matches that resulted in moments of great football and passion,” said Mr Corrias.

“These tournaments are firmly imprinted in the minds of Irish and Italian fans alike for similar and sometimes contrasting reasons. Bitter disappointments, albeit with remarkable results, were met by the Italian national team; whilst the Irish team saw great results and a new-found soaring public affection.”

The free exhibition will remain open until 7 December at St Peter’s before being moved to Dublin Castle's Printworks Building from 5 December-22 January.

The project is curated by the Museo della Figurina, a sticker and trading card museum in Modena, Italy.