The Portugal captain inadvertently caused a worldwide sensation for turning his back on the soft drink.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s disdain for Coca-Cola has been one of the main talking points of the European Championship, but why have his actions caused so much controversy? The goal here is to tell you everything you need to know about the incident. Ronaldo was once again one of the stars of the Euro, scoring three goals in Portugal’s first two group games to put them in contention for a place in the Round of 16. However, the Juventus superstar’s on-field exploits were overshadowed by a now infamous display of contempt for one of the world’s most popular brands in front of the media.
Ronaldo, the image of the tournament
Ronaldo sat down for his first pre-game press conference of the tournament on Monday before Portugal’s clash with Hungary, and noticed two bottles of Coca-Cola right in front of him.
The 36-year-old quickly removed the soft drinks from the cameras’ view and replaced them with a bottle of water, rolling his eyes while muttering with a tinge of disgust “Coca-Cola.” Manuel Locatelli adopted the same stance as Ronaldo before Italy’s 3-0 win over Switzerland in their second Group A match on Wednesday, smiling broadly while placing a bottle of water in the center of the stage instead of the usual two bottles of Coca-Cola.
Pogba also made a statement
French midfielder Paul Pogba, meanwhile, appeared to take aim at another of Euro 2020’s main sponsors when he removed a Heineken bottle from his sight at a media event.
The Manchester United ace is known to be a devout Muslim and therefore does not drink alcohol, but was apparently unaware that it was the brand’s 0.0% version. Other players have tried to shed light on the situation, including Ukraine’s Andriy Yarmolenko, who made sure Coca-Cola and Heineken bottles were in front of him after a win against Northern Macedonia and jokingly asked the brands to contact him.
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku followed Yarmolenko’s lead after winning man of the match in his country’s 2-1 triumph over Denmark, asking Coca-Cola to contact Roc Nation – the agency that manages his image rights. Coca-Cola’s market value plummeted by £2.8 billion after Ronaldo’s mischief, but the company has since issued a statement insisting that “everyone is entitled to their own drink preferences”. Elsewhere, one of Europe’s leading furniture retailers, IKEA, has tried to capitalize on the situation by launching a new reusable water bottle under the name “Cristiano.”
Brands start to react
Major mineral water brands have also jumped on the bandwagon, including Evian, which shared video of Ronaldo removing Coca-Cola bottles via Twitter with the caption, “We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! #stayhydrated #drinktrue #CR7”.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) took an opportunity for self-promotion by posting a link on social media to one of its articles highlighting the potential health benefits of removing sugar from your diet.