Italy’s Manuel Locatelli has become the latest player to remove Coca-Cola bottles from his table at Euro 2020, and he copied Cristiano Ronaldo’s ‘Agua!’ shout.
The Portugal star looked horrified when he spotted the drinks on the table in his press conference, placing them out of sight of the cameras and holding up his bottle of water to the camera instead.
Ronaldo’s actions caused a stir, with Coca-Cola’s share price falling by $4billion as the world’s famous footballer urged his millions of supporters to ditch the drink in favour of water.
There were similar scenes on Tuesday when Paul Pogba gave his own post-match press conference, though this time, the devout Muslim removed a bottle of Heineken beer from his table.
Now Locatelli has become the third player to take umbrage with Euro 2020’s sponsors, removing the bottles of Coca-Cola from their front and centre of the table and putting his own bottle of water in front of him instead.
The midfielder put on a superb display in Italy’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland on Wednesday, netting a brace to earn UEFA’s Star of the Match award.
When he arrived at the press conference after the game he moved the cola out of shot, putting the water in the middle, and he mimicked Ronaldo’s ‘Aqua!’ remark – or ‘Acqua’ in Locatelli’s native Italian – as he spoke to the press officer.
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After Ronaldo’s removal of the bottles earlier this week, Coca-Cola released a statement saying ‘everyone is entitled to their drink preferences’ and that everyone has different ‘tastes and needs’.
A Euro 2020 spokesperson added: ‘Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences.’
Locatelli, meanwhile, is a man in demand, and when asked if it is easy to ignore the speculation around his future, he replied: ‘Yes I think when you’re involved in such an important competition such as this one you’re only focused on the task in hand.
‘We see the kids in the street when they come and watch our games as well, so it’s actually quite easy to stay focused on the match.’