Both Cristiano Ronaldo And Paul Pogba Are Taking A Stand Against Sponsors - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Both Cristiano Ronaldo And Paul Pogba Are Taking A Stand Against Sponsors

The Euro 2020 press conferences have been a wild spectacle of athlete’s reclaiming control.

As one of the most globally recognised sporting stars, Ronaldo knows a thing or two about sustaining a career at the peak of fitness. As the first player in history to have won 100 champions league matches, the Portuguese footballer has garnered a reputation around the world for his sporting prowess on field but if there were any doubt as to what keeps him in the best shape, know that it’s not Coca-Cola. 

In a recent press conference, the 36-year-old star had reporters laughing after he removed bottles of Coca-Cola from view, before declaring “Water!” Though the bottles of Coke were there in relation to tournament sponsor Coca-Cola, it’s fair to say that the beverage doesn’t exactly serve a key role in Ronaldo’s performance. After moving the two bottles aside, he held aloft his own water bottle, proclaiming “Agua” (which is really just “water” in Portuguese). 

The move was a costly one for Coca-Cola, coinciding with a $4 billion fall in the share price of the drinks company. After shifting the bottles during his press conference, Coca-Cola’s share price dropped from $56.10 to $55.22 almost immediately after Ronaldo’s gesture. The market value then went from $242 billion to $238 billion, illustrating a drop of $4 billion.

Now, France midfielder Paul Pogba has taken a leaf out of Ronaldo’s book and took issue with another beverage on show during a Euro 2020 press conference: Heineken beer. The bottle of beer had been placed in front of him at a news conference on Tuesday. Pogba, a practising Muslim, promptly removed the bottle of Heineken’s non-alcoholic 0.0 brand as he sat down to speak to the media. 

For some, it’s made for entertaining viewing, but for others the actions of Ronaldo and Pogba demonstrate athletes taking control of their image, their voice, while simultaneously shining a focus on the sponsors of the tournament. Just recently, a protester from environmental group Greenpeace, parachuted into the stadium ahead of the France-Germany match in protest against Volkswagen being a tournament sponsor. The protester demanded the German manufacturer stop the sale of petrol and diesel cars. 

It’s not the first time sponsors have faced the scrutiny of athletes or fans. In the past, campaigns have targeted the presence of cigarette companies and betting companies among sports sponsors, however it’s worth noting that neither are present at Euro 2020. 

While Uefa, the organiser of the company, is yet to comment on Pogba’s removal of the beer, they did issue a statement after Ronaldo’s comments, saying: “Coca-Cola offers a range of drinks to suit different tastes and needs, which are available to players throughout the tournament. This includes waters, isotonic sports drinks and juices, coffee and tea, as well as Coca-Cola. Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences. Everyone is entitled to their drink preferences.”

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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