Ronaldinho against Mbappé: the challenge in the metaverse of football

A few days before the World Cup in Qatar, Nike is launching a commercial in which (thanks to futuristic technologies) it is possible to see two champions from different eras such as Ronaldinho and Mbappé on the same field. A double version of Ronaldo will also arrive directly from the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, as well as CR7, Edgar Davids, Alex Morgan and many other well-known faces: the football metaverse is however only the latest example of event advertising that precedes a great competition


Is Ronaldinho or Mbappé stronger? A question which, theoretically, it is not possible to answer given that they are two champions belonging to different eras. Nike’s latest Football campaign, however, tries to solve the question with “Footballverse”: a commercial in which champions of the present and the past challenge each other in the same field. Thus it is possible to see Ronaldinho against Mbappé, but also the Phenomenon Ronaldo of 2002 who challenges himself in the 1998 World Cup version, or his namesake Cristiano Ronaldo. We also see Edgar Davids and Alex Morgan on the same team or Phil Foden, De Bruyne and other stars of world football catapulted into the ‘Footballverse’.

The protagonists of the latest Nike commercial – Photo: Nike

All protagonists

The well-known American house is not new to the publication of iconic sports just a few days before a World Cup: in the one that has just been launched, there are a dozen elite Nike athletes such as Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Cristiano Ronaldo, CR Jr., Edgar Davids, Kevin De Bruyne, Kylian Mbappé, Leah Williamson, Phil Foden, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Nazário, Sam Kerr, Shane Kluivert and Virgil van Dijk.

The historic 1998 Nike commercial at the airport

It was 1998 when Nike, the technical sponsor of the Brazilian national team, launched one of the most successful and memorable commercials in history. In the advertisement, which has the famous song “Mas que nada” by Sergio Mendes as background music, we see the green and gold national team who, bored by waiting for their flight, improvise a match at the airport: Ronaldo, Denilson, Roberto Carlos, Romario (who, then on the real flight to France, will not go up due to an injury) and other Brazilian champions improvise dribbles, tunnels, dribbles and other spectacular plays to the general amazement. Spot that ends with a penalty from Ronaldo kicked onto one of the two support posts – used as a goal – which are used by airport staff to separate lines before check-in. The Phenomenon despairs and it will be a bad omen given that after the final lost against France the desperation will be absolutely real and not fiction for a commercial.

Good vs Evil: the 1996 Nike commercial

Even before the famous commercial with the Brazilian national team at the airport, Nike had become the protagonist of another video that went down in history: Good vs Evil. In the advertisement, launched in the year of the European Championships in England, we see the great athletes sponsored by the American company who, inside an arena similar to the Colosseum, challenge real devils. Thus, a young Maldini with the shirt of the Italian national team, together with Ronaldo, Figo (still at Barcelona…), Kluivert, Rui Costa and other champions defeat evil with the decisive bludger of canton who, raising his collar and greeting with his “Au revoir” the demon “goalkeeper” throws a right foot on goal that pierces the devil giving the victory to the “good” team represented precisely by the Nike footballers.

José +10 The Impossible Team: the 2006 Adidas commercial

Among the great commercials that preceded a World Cup, one cannot fail to mention the one that Adidas launched in 2006. An iconic advertisement featuring some of the strongest footballers in the world at the time such as Zidane, Kaká, Lampard, Beckham, Robben and other champions sponsored by the German company. In the commercial, the “count” between José, the boy who also gives the title to the claim, and a friend of his is memorable: just as happens with children on the street, the two protagonists of the commercial draw lots for the players to choose for their team and each of them shoots the “biggest” name seeing that desire come true. Beckenbauer and Platini also come from the past to complete two dream teams, captained and coached by two kids…

Ronaldinho against Mbappé: the challenge in the metaverse of football