Football’s greatest players – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - broke the internet when they posted an advertisement playing chess in luxury brand Louis Vuitton’s latest campaign. The advert was launched a day before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and it was soon revealed that the position is inspired from a real game.
The Ronaldo and Messi's position is from the game between Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura, which happened at the Norway Chess tournament back in 2017. Carlsen’s second GM Peter Heine Nielsen was the first one to point this out on Twitter, and in the caption Carlsen wrote, “Second greatest rivalry of our time mimicking the greatest.”
The photo with the caption “Victory is a State of Mind” is now among the most-liked posts on Instagram. The picture shot by the legendary celebrity portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz shows Messi and Ronaldo playing chess on a checkered Louis Vuitton suitcase. The advert was shared by Messi, Ronaldo, and Louis Vuitton’s channels.
Carlsen was asked about the Louis Vuitton photo after the sixth round of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour in San Francisco, to which he said that the original is from his game with Nakamura in Norway Chess 2017. He added that it was a very tumultuous event for him. "I ended up with minus one, and at several points during the tournament, I was in risk of dropping to number two or three or even four in the world. It was tough!," Chess.com reported.
On being asked if the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry is somehow comparable to the Carlsen-Nakamura rivalry, Carlsen said, “Not really, but he’s good at a lot of the stuff that I’m good at, for sure." He stated that it’s not the worst comparison in the world.
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