At least two footballers at the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship have apparently taken note of Cristiano Ronaldo’s actions at a recent press conference held prior to Portugal’s match with Hungary on Tuesday.
During said press conference, Ronaldo, who is well known for following a strict diet, deliberately moved aside the Coca Cola bottles that were placed near his microphone, with him then taking a water bottle that was also set there and waving it at the media, saying: "Drink water!"
Afterwards, Italian footballer Manuel Locatelli snubbed Coca Cola – one of the official sponsors of the championship – in a similar fashion, moving Coke bottles aside and placing a water bottle in front of him at his press conference.
Locatelli following Ronaldo’s footsteps. Coca Cola gonna be a meme at this point 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/gK5wCKGM1v— Abduł (@Abdul999_) June 16, 2021
Scotland’s John McGinn, however, has taken a more lighthearted approach when he arrived at his press conference and noticed there were only water bottles set near his seat.
“Nae Coke?” McGinn inquired, laughing and taking a swig from one of the bottles, likely making a reference to Ronaldo’s stunt.
Locatelli’s and McGinn’s actions have apparently left quite a few social media users amused, with netizens jokingly speculating how Coca Cola might react to this.
Cocacola social media team working overtime so that this doesn.'t trend😂😂😂— bigboiidon (@GoshodoM) June 16, 2021
Coke after puttin their bottles on display .😩 pic.twitter.com/Bb338xuOhU— Iceduke (@Iceduke4) June 17, 2021
Coca-Cola to start-up bottle water production soon— Fagun Oluwatosin Oluwaseun (@Tosfag) June 17, 2021
Nightmare event for coca cola. How many more footballers would do that?— Who knows (@Who_knows_00) June 17, 2021
One social media user even used the phrase “Ronaldo effect” when commenting on a video showing Locatelli’s treatment of Coke bottles.
There were also those, however, who argued that the UEFA needs to do something about players performing such deeds behind the backs of their sponsors.
UEFA needs to handle this issue with players denigrating their brand sponsors. Sponsors put in the money to see their brands go places, not to take it off table.— Elvis Tunde ➐ (@Tunnykvng) June 17, 2021
Ronaldo did it with Coca-Cola, Pogba did it with Heineken and now Locatelli. Absolutely disrespectful.
Coca Cola has seen its market value tank by about $4 billion in the wake of Ronaldo’s move.
"The coincidental drop in Coca-Cola's stock could very well be a spurious correlation to the comment made by Cristiano Ronaldo," Nicholas Johnson, equity analyst at Morningstar, said as quoted by Business Insider. "Celebrities do play a role in the positioning of brands in consumers' minds, but the extent of this is much more limited for an iconic brand like Coca-Cola."