Cristiano Ronaldo is a super Star on and off the football pitch. On Monday, June 14, 2021, he scored a brace as defending champions. Portugal out-played hapless Hungary 3 -0. Those two goals made Ronaldo the highest scorer ever in the European Champions, bettering Michel Platini’s record of nine goals, which he matched at the last championship.
At the post-match conference, Ronaldo made further headlines by ‘de-marketing’ Coca Cola, one of the sponsors of the tournament, which was delayed till 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He removed two bottles of Coca Cola which were placed on the table before his press conference and said “agua,” recommending that people should drink water instead. Ronaldo doesn’t like soda drinks and does not appear to endorse any sugary beverages.
That causal gesture may have cost Coca-Cola $4 billion at the stock market. Market reports showed that Coca-Cola’s share price dropped by 1.6 percent to $55.22 soon after Ronaldo’s actions. The market value crashed from $242bn to $238bn, a $4bn drop.
Coca-Cola responded cautiously in a statement that “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences” with different “tastes and needs.” Coca-Cola produces soda and various water brands.
The next day, after France defeated Germany 1-0, French Midfielder, Paul Pogba, tried a similar prank but with less impact. He removed a Heineken from the table. Unfortunately for him, Heineken remained one of the 20 or so advertisers on the backdrop behind him.
The organisers of the tournament have not reacted to Ronaldo and Pogba’s actions. Such protests will likely increase as more players may resist endorsing products they do not like. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers spend heavily on football sponsorship as football fans consume much of both. Alcohol has been found to hinder the performance of athletes but it is the toast of soccer fans. European Soccer hooligans are second to none globally.