Anyone over the age of 30 will probably remember the famous ‘Pepsi challenge’ adverts, which got blindfolded punters to see if they preferred Pepsi or Coke.
One thing’s for sure: Ronaldinho definitely prefers Pepsi. So much so that his fondness for the soft drink has cost the Brazilian football legend a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola worth £500,000 a year.
Ronaldinho stunned Coke chiefs by turning up at a press conference and sipping nonchalantly from a can of their arch-rivals’ fizzy pop. Furious bosses at the Atlanta-based firm immediately demanded that the plug be pulled on his huge endorsement deal, according to a report in the ‘O Estado de Sao Paulo’ newspaper.
It’s just the latest blow for the 32-year-old, twice a winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award, who has struggled to shine since he left AC Milan two years ago to finish his career in his homeland.
His spell at Flamengo came to an end last month after two unhappy seasons in which he was lambasted both for poor performances on the pitch and bad behaviour off it, with reports claiming that he consistently failed to turn up to training and was more interested in throwing wild parties.
Ronaldinho recently moved to a new club, Atletico Mineiro, and Coke bosses claim that they had already been growing weary of the star’s antics.
“The fact that the player has appeared with a can of Pepsi was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Coca Cola marketing chief Marcelo Pontes told the paper. “The sponsorship had become embarrassing.”