Cristiano Ronaldo vs Coca Cola: Hal Robson-Kanu's passionate reaction to Euro 2020 drama

  • Kobe Tong

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Cristiano Ronaldo's unexpected feud with Coca Cola has seemingly fizzled out.

Ronaldo vs Coca Cola controversy

The early stages of Euro 2020 were dominated by Ronaldo's decision to move a pair of Coca Cola bottles and endorse fans to drink water instead during a Portugal press conference.

While that might have seemed an innocuous move on Ronaldo's part, it struck a chain reaction throughout the tournament with players either joining his cause or light-heartedly making fun of it.

There's unquestionably an amusing element to the whole drama, but make no mistake that there is a very serious conversation at the heart of Ronaldo's simple, though no less impactful, gesture.

Czech Republic 0-1 England Highlights (Football Terrace)

Besides, it's clear that certain athletes think that major tournaments like Euro 2020 shouldn't be sponsored by products that many perceive to be linked with an unhealthy diet.

Then, on the flip side, there are those who point out that football, particularly its grass roots entities, would be comparatively underfunded without the financing of major companies like Coca Cola.

And amongst all the debate, one man who has very much nailed his colours to the mast has been former West Bromwich Albion forward and Wales international Thomas 'Hal' Robson-Kanu.

Robson-Kanu addresses the situation

During an appearance on the latest High Performance Podcast, Robson-Kanu brought up the Ronaldo vs Coca Cola incident and spoke about his broader thoughts on sponsorship in football.

Robson-Kanu began: "I don't know if you guys I'm sure you have seen, you know, the whole stir that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba have caused from the Coca Cola bottles from the press conference and then saying: 'drink water'."

To that, presenter and host Jake Humphrey responded: "But isn't that a sign of how the game is changing? Footballers having a voice and an opinion."

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Read more: The High Performance Podcast hub

Sponsorship in football

At which point, Robson-Kanu - who launched his health drink business the Turmeric Co. in 2018 - gave his full thoughts on the potentially damaging impact of certain brands' position in the sport.

"You look at sport, you look at society, and you look at the disease that we have in society today," Robson-Kanu remarked. "There's never been more obesity. There's never been more ill health.

"And yet we've never had more information and knowledge than we do today. You know, on face value. So how can we have such a high level of disease and ill health at this present moment in time throughout society? It just doesn't make sense.

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"But when you begin to break it down, you look at sports and you look at fast food, high sugar, high fat companies and the influence that they have in terms of the global, social, economical arena.

"From a marketing perspective, McDonald's sponsor children's sport in the UK, children's football and Coca Cola is the main sponsor of the Euros and World Cup.

"You physically can't give your child Coca Cola as a one, two, three, four, five, six, seven year old.

"You know, truly, I remember when I first had my first Dr. Pepper, I think I was seven and I bounced off the walls for nearly five hours, broke a window and had the biggest crash ever.

"The influence that these brands and these conglomerates have on sport, from my perspective, needs to change because they're treats at the end of the day.

"That's not saying you don't have them. And 100 percent everyone likes a treat and everyone likes a take away. But it has to be done in moderation.

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"But sports organisations, clubs and you know, the likes of FIFA, they have to begin to take some responsibility in terms of the influence that they have on society, because if you're living in everyday life, living with an everyday family, which you love, when your child turns on England v Scotland and they see Coca Cola plastered around the stadium, that subliminal messaging is having an impact on their consumer patterns, wants and needs.

"And so that's marketing at the end of the day. And I think UEFA have just come out and they've said if players continue to move the bottles, the Coca Cola bottles, sanctions and fines will be actioned.

"And for me, that stems that the root of the issue and the cause of the issue lies, you know, ultimately at the top.

"And I think it's fascinating to see because these players are beginning to understand more and more about nutrition and we'll touch on it and the impact that, you know, what we are doing, you know, through our brand and what other, you know, functional natural health products are having on everyday people, but also on elite athletes.

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"So, yes, I just wanted to touch on that because I thought it was it's fascinating to see the, you know, the impact that that's having around the world at the minute."

An important debate

Say what you like about Robson-Kanu's comments and the broader debate at hand, but there's no denying the positives in professional footballers being allowed to have more of a say in key issues.

The fact of the matter is that Ronaldo's actions might not have been received well by everybody, but the importance of the conversation being started in the first place is there for everyone to see.

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Who is this scoring a penalty for Italy against Joe Hart?

I guess you could say it's Ronaldo one; Coke zero.

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