Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo's selfishness
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Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo's selfishness

Cristiano Ronaldo removes two Coca-Cola bottles during a press conference.

Two events in consecutive days have shaken the long-established marketing foundations of sport and its sponsorship. Cristiano Ronaldo, first, took two Coca-Cola bottles out of the camera's line of sight, and Paul Pogba, later, got rid of a Heineken alcohol-free beer, both sponsors of Euro 2020, and both incidents have gone directly against the rules of the business and created negative publicity for two leading advertisers.

These were two unwise and selfish gestures. These are two sports stars who, as they say in the United States, "know the game" and who know that without private money this cannot be sustained. Their attitude is reprehensible because they are at the forefront of promotional events when it is their money that is at stake. The effect of Cristiano Ronaldo's childishness has translated into a four billion dollar loss for Coca-Cola. If that figure is true, the renewal of Cristiano Ronaldo's contracts in the coming years will have to be multiplied by a factor of five given the magnitude of the consequences. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic has created such a big hole.

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The most disgusting thing is that it has been done to two sponsors who move on the edge. Coca-Cola, the first Olympic sponsor and therefore the first sponsor of sport in its global concept, is going through a critical moment in terms of image. It has gone from being the spark of life to heading the catalogue of unhealthy foods with hamburgers, when the Atlanta-based company has worked hard to bring low-sugar products onto the market and diversify the market with up to 50 other products. Heineken, for its part, has been supporting UEFA for more than 25 years and has also had to exploit alcohol-free options in order to continue to have visibility in sport.

These are not times for football to mistreat two of its advertisers. And even less so for two of its stars, who ironically lead teams supported by these sponsors in the opposite direction. Sagres (Heineken) for Portugal and Coca-Cola for France. In that bottle on the table travel many corporate jobs - all sponsorship departments - and the future of footballers yet to come. Next time someone should remind Cristiano Ronaldo and Pogba to use what's under their hair gel.

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