Cover Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo face off in style (Photo: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

The two legendary footballers square off in a chess match rather than on the field in the luxury label’s all-star advert shot by Annie Leibovitz

Only time will tell if Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (with 12 Ballon d’Or trophies between them) will lock horns in the FIFA World Cup 2022, but French luxury maison Louis Vuitton has already pitted the two players against each other in its latest advert.

However, instead of over a football, it’s over a Louis Vuitton Damier attaché trunk serving as the chess board, and the pieces in positions that replicate a game played in real life during a 2017 tournament between grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura—a detail spotted by Carlsen himself on Twitter.

Read more: Asian American Powerhouse Soo Joo Park on Representation and Shooting With Annie Leibovitz

The quietly dynamic shot, captured by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz, is a part of Louis Vuitton’s “Victory is a State of Mind” campaign and has raked up millions of likes on Instagram within hours of being posted.

While the combined star power of the two athletes has set the internet on fire, the photograph is also a nod to Louis Vuitton’s “[longstanding] tradition of crafting trunks for the world’s most coveted sporting trophies, and also pays tribute to two of the most talented football players today,” Louis Vuitton said in a Twitter post.


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