Watch: Nike FC pits legendary players from the past and

Have you ever wondered how Kylian Mbappe and Ronaldinho would stack up against each other? Which Ronaldo – and version – is better? Or if Phil Foden’s grandmother can fare with the best of them?

Well, now you don’t have to. With Nike FC’s latest ‘The Football Verse’ (opens in new tab) advert, launched ahead of the Qatar World Cup 2022, a team of scientists at a lab in Geneva, Switzerland, have managed to create a dimension where the stars of the present and yesteryear are pitted against each other in a make-shift football pitch in a scientific laboratory. 

Clearly taking inspiration from Nike’s iconic ‘The Cage’ advert created 20 years ago for the 2002 World Cup, ‘The Football Verse’ begins with a pair of boffins debating who the better player is: Kylian Mbappe or Ronaldinho. The younger of the pair argues the Frenchman is more skilled, while the older scientist believes no one can compare to the Brazilian magician. 

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If only there was a way to settle the debate once and for all, they wondered. Fortunately, the scientists’ creation comes to life, with Mbappe and Ronaldinho imported in – however, it is the Ronaldinho from his Barcelona heydays, so he doesn’t recognise the future PSG star stood before him. 

They engage in a battle of skills, before someone suggests Ronaldo should join the party. 2002-era Ronaldo Nazario and his iconic haircut are pulled from a traditional Japanese setting, before his 1998 self comes along, mocking the questionable trim the future him is sporting. 

The action doesn’t stop there, though, with one of the scientists complaining the battle should also include Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star comes flying in, and, fortunately, he is actually playing football in the advert, rather than engaging in controversial interviews

Of course, no advert featuring Cristiano would be complete without his ‘siu’ celebration – but on this occasion, it’s a double whammy, with his Euro 2004 self performing the jump alongside the present day Portuguese forward. Jeez, just think of the carnage two Cristiano Ronaldo’s could have caused this week…

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Regardless, the Nike FC advert is one born out of creative genius, with Alex Morgan from the USA’s women’s team performing her iconic tea sipping celebration; Leah Williamson running rings around 1998 Ronaldo; Sam Kerr, Carli Lloyd and Kevin De Bruyne fighting for the ball; and Dutch stars Virgil van Dijk and Edgar Davids making an entrance, while Phil Foden is left sat by himself in a café pouring tea for an empty place holder. 

Presumably, his grandmother got in the way of the beam (or whatever the transporter to the football verse is) that intended to take the England star across dimensions. 

About the advert, Nike FC set the scene: “An international team of scientists at a secret lab in Switzerland finally cracked the code. They’ve written the formula that will put an end to any discussion—the ultimate battle of all football generations…

“With the push of a button, they bring us legendary players from the past and present. A crazy experiment unfolds. Watch now to find out if the world of science can find a way to settle the score.”

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