UEFA has responded to Euro 2020’s most unexpected trend. Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a brace to become the competition’s all-time leading scorer against Hungary this week, started it, replacing two Coca-Cola bottles in shot with him during a press conference with a bottle of water and then extolling the virtues of water over soft drinks.
Paul Pogba did the same days later, but, as a devout Muslim, replaced a bottle of Heineken with water instead of a bottle of Coke. Manuel Locatelli also joined in, removing the two bottles of Coke waiting for him in favour of water. Given the vast funds invested in the tournament and European football by the sponsors, UEFA were none-too-pleased.
“UEFA has reminded the participating teams that sponsors are essential for the realisation of the tournament and to ensure the development of football throughout Europe, including for young people and women,” European football’s organising body said in comments carried by Marca.
Cristiano, to his credit, has shown the benefits of drinking water instead of Coke so far this summer. He’s responded to a collectively disappointing season with Juventus by marking his Euro 2020 debut with two goals, helping Portugal to an opening-day win important to their chances of doing damage in the competition. At 36, that’s impressive.