Gana Adhikar Sports Desk, June 19 2021 :
Football world’s megastar Cristiano Ronaldo set the Thames on fire with that stunning off-field, non-chalant solo act of swiftly moving aside a couple of bottles of Coca-Cola from the table in front of him and rather jubilantly holding up a bottle of water instead as he sat down to speak during a blockbuster European Championship ’21 media briefing. Hours after that Ronaldo cameo act, Coca-Cola shares burnt in the market losing an estimated $ 4 billion in market capitalization.
Since then, other popular soccer players participating in the ongoing prestigious Euro Championship have repeated the act against the beverage brand which is one of the official sponsors of the coveted championship.
However, for fair coverage of the issue in the interest of the readers, it may be pertinent to add that Cristiano Ronaldo had once inked a sponsorship contract with Coca-Cola and was its ambassador in the early 2000s which collapsed after dispute between the two sides.
By Reuters Sports, Bucharest , June 19 2021 :
Ukraine skipper Andriy Yarmolenko became the latest player at the European Championship to mess about with sponsors’ drinks bottles at a post-match news conference on Thursday in a trend amusing social media users but disconcerting organisers.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo started the fad by moving aside bottles of Coca-Cola and pointedly grabbing water instead as he sat down to speak to the media on Monday.
After the snub – which was widely shared and viewed by millions around the world – stock in the drinks company and Euro 2020 sponsor dipped 1.6%, losing about $4 billion in value.
Yarmolenko, fresh from scoring in his team’s 2-1 win over North Macedonia, took advantage of the limelight for some mischief.
“Can I do something? I saw Ronaldo doing this,” he said, grinning. “I want to move the (Coca-Cola bottles) here and I want to move the beer here. Coke and Heineken, please get in touch.”
The 31-year-old then dissolved into laughter before moving the bottles back to their original positions in front of him.
France midfielder Paul Pogba, a practicing Muslim, removed a Heineken bottle (alcoholic drink) at a news conference on Tuesday, while Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli also moved Coca-Cola bottles on Wednesday, replacing them with water.
European governing body UEFA has taken a dim view of the players’ gesture, reminding teams they have contractual obligations towards tournament sponsors.
Coca-Cola did not immediately comment on Yarmolenko’s action, though after the Ronaldo incident it referred to a UEFA statement outlining the company’s range of drinks also including waters, isotonic sports drinks, juices, coffee and tea.
Heineken has not commented. Editing by Andrew Cawthorne for Reuters Sports