Cristiano Ronaldo’s stance on Coca-Cola should be applauded – using his status to send out the right messages to an adoring generation – but the Euros record breaker probably DIDN’T cause their share price to plummet
Pepsi parasols fluttered outside Portugal’s training camp as the fallout from Cristiano Ronaldo’s Coca-Cola protest bubbled away in the background.
The soft drinks giant had, according to reports overnight, taken a £2.8billion hit to its share value during Wall Street trading on Monday and it was quickly pinned on Ronaldo.
He is a global icon of a digital age with almost half a billion followers on social media and has shaken markets in the past. The share price of Juventus more than doubled, for instance, after his transfer from Real Madrid in 2018.
As an sponsor of Euro 2020, Coca Cola was on display as Cristiano Ronaldo entered the room
But his disdain was clear to see as he shouted ‘drink water’ having removed the Coke bottle
Signing one of the world’s greatest players is sure to boost confidence in that club and its global brand status. What about by moving two bottles of Coke at a press conference streamed live to only a limited number of accredited media?
Ronaldo was about to field questions before Portugal’s Euro 2020 opener against Hungary when he saw the offending items. He picked them up, tutted and pushed them out of shot before producing his own bottle of water and telling his audience to ‘drink water’.
Elite sportsmen and women do not belong with junk food and sugary drinks and yet it rarely stops them or their teams striking lucrative commercial deals that encourage fans to consume products they would not touch.
Ronaldo, who has 12 months to go on a four-year deal at Juventus worth more than £100million, is thought to have earned more from endorsements during his career than from football.
Dig back over the years and he has put his name and image to Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and KFC — and he is certainly not alone.
This summer, during the Euros, England captain Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford, awarded an MBE for helping feed hungry schoolchildren, front a campaign by Coca-Cola, linked to a charity called StreetGames.
Ronaldo may feel he has elevated himself on to a higher plane. This is not his first skirmish with the cola giants. In 2013, Pepsi apologised and pulled ads featuring voodoo dolls of the Portuguese star strapped to train tracks, crushed by a can and stabbed with dozens of pins.
We should applaud his new stance, using his power and influence to send out the right messages to an adoring generation.
But did he really shake the stock market?
Coca-Cola shares closed on Friday at £39.83 and were down as soon as Wall Street opened for trading on Monday, before Ronaldo even took his seat for the virtual press conference in Budapest.
The value continued to slide through the day to a low of £39.17 by 3.30pm in the UK.
UEFA have no plans to reprimand Ronaldo for his gesture against the tournament sponsors
This was less than an hour after Ronaldo had spoken and before any clips of the incident had begun to circulate online.
So they may be connected but, on balance, probably not.
UEFA do not seem too concerned either.
There are no plans to reprimand Ronaldo. Nor Paul Pogba, who removed a bottle of zero-alcohol Heineken beer before answering questions after France’s 1-0 win over Germany on Tuesday.