They didn't even need to tag each other.
When Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo each posted the joint photo for the luxury brand Louis Vuitton on Instagram on Saturday, they did not tag the other person.
Actually, that would go without saying.
Louis Vuitton dutifully tagged “leomessi” and “cristiano”.
After all, social media also has etiquette.
The minimum requirement for politeness: pointing out the other person if you don't mention them in a friendly way in the comments.
The two strategists on the board also lacked the sense for hashtags.
Responsible editor for the department "Germany and the World" and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin.
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You just can't tolerate another football god next to you.
The claim of the Louis Vuitton campaign for an attaché case is “Victory is a state of mind”, and everyone interprets that for themselves.
The similarities end in the composition anyway.
Thinking poses presuppose quiet activity.
The looks go down, like Auguste Rodin.
Or even like Narcissus, who falls in love with his own reflection.
On the other hand, Ronaldo's gaze wanders off the board, absent-mindedly, possibly on Messi's tattoos.
The hair is too perfect for chess players.
Separated on camera?
It's not an image of togetherness.
The photo, released the day before the start of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and fueling social media, revives the old "Messi-Ronaldo rivalry".
Messi, 35 years old, seven times World Player of the Year and a star at Paris Saint-Germain, doesn't have a bad chance of winning the world title with Argentina.
Ronaldo, 37 years old, five times "world footballer" and currently in a crisis at Manchester United, will probably not get that far with Portugal.
In general, this is an almost old-masterly work.
Annie Leibovitz, also 73 years old, arranged and illuminated it all so beautifully, as if there were no debate about authenticity in advertising and fashion photography.
The photo is also classic because of the tradition in which it stands:
This time the protagonists didn't even have to meet.
With clever editing, the making-of video suggests that they were sitting with Leibovitz at the same time.
But if you look closely, it's just an illusion.
Messi walks through a typical Parisian apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows, decorated wallpaper and Haussmann facades in the background.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, is greeted by Leibovitz in a studio and photographed in front of a neutral wall.
At second 14 of the film, which Louis Vuitton released and then pulled over the weekend, one screen in the background shows Messi in one photo and Ronaldo alone with his suitcase in the other - his Damier pattern in brown and beige George Vuitton 1888 invented.
The biggest work comes after the shoot
It would not be surprising if the photo was a montage.
Because the greatest illusion that still exists about fashion photographers like Annie Leibovitz, Steven Meisel or Mario Testino: that they prolong the right moment into eternity because of their genius.
But the truth is, the most work on a subject like this is in post-production.
Retouchers work many hours on a highly polished advertising photo.
In this case, for example, the contrasts were increased in order to achieve a particularly three-dimensional effect.
"Just perfect," says a New York photographer - and by that he also means that this kind of coldly edited digital photo is often no longer desirable today.
The digital display is as perfect as the photo.
On Sunday, thanks to this post on Instagram, Ronaldo broke the magic threshold of 500 million followers.
So he tops the Instagram fan list, well ahead of Messi (376 million), Kylie Jenner (372), Selena Gomez (357) and Dwayne Johnson (348).
A German specialist in luxury marketing estimates that each of the two football stars will receive “at least ten million euros” for this contract;
this is not about a long-term commitment as a brand ambassador, but only about a single order, i.e. a few hours.
And thanks to the many new followers, the two earn more money from it.
Because every fan means hard cash.