Ronaldinho’s Contract with Coca-Cola Terminated Following Pepsi Scandal, Leaving Him Stunned and Emotional

As he spoke to reporters on that historic July day in 2012, then-Coca-Cola ambassador Ronaldinho made a decision that would cost him a lot of money.

The former Barcelona midfielder had only been at Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro for a few days when he was called in front of the media for a question-and-answer session.

At the time, Ronaldinho was a Coca-Cola sponsor, and sources claim that he was making $760,000 [£500,000] per year from the deal, which was due to expire in 2014

With all of that in mind, his decision to sit next to two cans of Pepsi, one of Coca-Cola’s key competitors, during the news conference was a watershed event in his relationship with the beverage company.

Given that Pepsi sponsored Mineiro at the time and it was customary to place the cans on tables at press conferences, many people thought it was harsh.

However, allegations quickly spread that Ronaldinho drank from one of the cans during the controversial Q&A session

“The fact that the player appeared with a can of Pepsi was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Coca-Cola marketing chief Marcelo Pontes told the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo a few days later.

He went on to say, “The sponsorship had become embarrassing.”

Coca-Cola also issued a comment about the event, saying, “Coca-Cola recognizes Ronaldinho’s career and value.” However, due to recent events, it is no longer viable to continue the collaboration.”

Ronaldinho lost his £500,000 a year contract with Coca-Cola after he was caught drinking Pepsi

‘Dinho’ had recently left Flamengo after suing the club for unpaid salary and bonuses at the time, but the Brazilian team retaliated by claiming he was unprofessional and showed a lack of devotion during his time at the Maracan.

He was also accused of drinking excessively, being sluggish in training sessions, and frequent visits to nightclubs.

The 2002 World Cup winner went on to make over 50 appearances for Mineiro during a two-year stay before concluding his career with Querétaro and Fluminense in Mexico.

In March 2020, the Brazilian was arrested in Paraguay alongside his older brother, Roberto de Assis Moreira, for unlawfully entering the country to attend a charity event and book promotion using a fake passport.

Ronaldinho was detained alongside Roberto and would spend time in prison, including participating in a futsal competition behind bars.


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