Cristiano Ronaldo has been praised by anti-obesity campaigners for removing two bottles of Coca-Cola during a European Championship press conference before declaring: “Drink water.”
Ronaldo’s public show of disdain for one of the biggest sponsors of the tournament has gone viral on social media, forcing Uefa to consider whether to continue to place the products in front of one of the world’s greatest players.
Caroline Cerny, Alliance Lead at Obesity Health Alliance told Telegraph Sport: “Junk food brands pay millions to sponsor high profile sporting events like the Euros, to keep their unhealthy products in the spotlight and to create a ‘halo effect’ by associating them with sport.
“It’s great to see a role model like Cristiano Ronaldo reject Coca Cola for water, setting a positive example for young fans and showing his disdain for a cynical marketing attempt to link him with a sugary drink.”
Ronaldo is renowned for his commitment to a strict regime of diet and exercise, which has helped him to remain one of the world’s best players into his mid-30s.
His snubbing of Coca-Cola was also endorsed by Tom Brady, the record-breaking Superbowl-winning quarterback.
It’s almost like the veterans know what they’re doing…. @Cristiano @TB12sports https://t.co/pJ0y1BtCRt
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) June 14, 2021
Ronaldo’s views on Coca-Cola were laid bare last year when he said of his son, Cristiano jnr: “He drinks Coca-Cola and eats French fries. He knows I don’t like it, but he still does it.”
Earlier in his career, Ronaldo appeared in commercials both for Coca-Cola and its arch-rival Pepsi.
The Portuguese has previously explained that his diet consists of six mini-meals spread throughout the day, featuring plenty of fruit, vegetables, and clean protein such as fish or chicken cooked without oil.
His favourite dish is a Portuguese classic called Bacalhau à Brás that consists of layers of cod, onions, thinly sliced potatoes and black olives on top of eggs.
In March, the British Medical Association led calls for a ban on junk food advertising within sport following a Telegraph Sport investigation into the scale of it.
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, then cited the findings of that investigation during a lecture in which he accused the promotion of fatty and sugary food and drinks brands of harming efforts to combat the UK’s obesity crisis.
Telegraph Sport has approached Uefa and Coca-Cola for comment.