Sports stars are not just celebrities, they are also influential individuals who can make or break a brand’s reputation. A brand’s success can hinge on the endorsements they get from these athletes.
However, when these celebrities misbehave or make a wrong move, it can also affect the brand’s reputation, and in Ronaldinho’s case, cost him half a million pounds a year. Ronaldinho, the former Barcelona playmaker, was sponsored by Coca-Cola, and according to reports, he was earning £500,000 per year from the deal that was set to expire in 2014.
However, during a press conference in July 2012, the Brazilian superstar made a move that would cost him a serious amount of money. He sat beside two cans of Pepsi, one of Coca-Cola’s main competitors, during the conference.
It was originally thought that the cans were placed on tables during press conferences as a standard operating procedure, but it quickly emerged that Ronaldinho had really drunk from one of the cans during the Q&A session.
12. SODA CLASH :
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, better known as Ronaldinho, cost himself a Coke sponsorship worth $750,000 for drinking a can of Pepsi at a press conference.
Ronaldinho stunned Coke chiefs by turning up at a press conference and sipping nonchalantly ……. pic.twitter.com/q6D4ixLQnf
— Aya (@Aya_Kleo) August 22, 2022
“The fact that the player showed up with a can of Pepsi was the straw that broke the camel’s back”, Coca-Cola marketing chief Marcelo Pontes said in a statement to the Brazilian daily newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo days later.
Coca-Cola soon released a statement, saying, “Coca-Cola recognizes the career and value of Ronaldinho. However, due to recent developments, it has become impossible to continue the partnership.” It was a costly mistake for the former Brazilian international, whose contract with Coca-Cola ended prematurely.
His flashy playing style and his love for partying made Ronaldinho famous. After suing the team for unpaid salaries and bonuses, he had just left Flamengo.
Nevertheless, the Brazilian team retaliated by saying that he was disrespectful and had shown a lack of devotion while playing at the Maracanã. Also, he was charged with abusing alcohol, skipping workouts, and frequenting nightclubs.
Ronaldinho Often Found Himself in Trouble
After spending two years at Atletico Mineiro, the 2002 World Cup winner went on to make over 50 appearances for the team before concluding his playing career with Querétaro and Fluminense of Mexico.
The Brazilian was detained in Paraguay in March 2020 along with his older brother, Roberto de Assis Moreira, for entering the country illegally to attend a charity event and book promotion. Yet, his off-field issues would continue to follow him.
Ronaldinho served time behind bars and took part in a futsal event there. The former forward for Barcelona and his brother entered a plea deal that required them to pay fines of $90,000 and $110,000, respectively, and they were both freed from prison in Paraguay in August 2020.
Ronaldinho’s woes continued when reports emerged that he had only £5 to his name at the time and was “close to bankruptcy.” However, he has since turned his life around and recently appeared in Gerard Pique’s ‘Kings League’ tournament.