ITALY hero Manuel Locatelli has become the latest star to pop at the sight of Coca-Cola bottles in a fizz-ling row over Euro 2020 sponsors.
The popular carbonated drink was set up in front of the midfielder as he took his seat to discuss a Man of the Match display against Switzerland.
Manuel Locatelli smiled as he pointedly placed a bottle of water centre stage
The Italy star cheekily moved the Coca-Cola bottles from his press conference
But he made a point of placing a bottle of water directly in front of his microphone before moving the Coca-Cola out of shot ahead of speaking to the press.
Locatelli then smiled and toyed with his Man of the Match trophy as he awaited the first question.
It followed Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to ditch the sugary drink before Portugal’s game with Hungary.
The 36-year-old, who has admitted to being ‘irritated’ by his son’s love of crisps and fizzy drinks in the past, told fans to ‘drink water’ instead.
And player power has been increasingly evident at the Euros after Paul Pogba snubbed a bottle of Heineken following France’s win over Germany.
The alcohol-free edition of the beverage sponsors the Man of the Match award handed to Pogba who, as a devout Muslim, does not drink alcohol.
Cristiano Ronaldo began the trend despite previously advertising for Coca-Cola
Paul Pogba ditched a bottle of alcohol-free Heineken from his media dutiesCredit: UEFA
The incidents have seen Coke’s shares on the New York Stock Exchange fall by 1.6 per cent to wipe £2.83billion off the company’s value.
But Uefa will not intervene to demand more respect for the money men.
A spokesman said: “Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences. Everyone is entitled to their drink preferences.”
Meanwhile, Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was clearly not caught up by the trend and happily popped open his bottle of coke after beating Finland.
Locatelli was Italy’s hero on Wednesday night, firing a brace past Switzerland to confirm the Azzurri’s place in the last-16.
A fantastic run by Sassuolo team-mate Domenico Berardi set the 23-year-old up for a first-half tap-in before a pinpoint drive from 20 yards for 2-0.
And his post-match exploits only enhanced his reputation among fans.
Twitter user Abdul wrote: “Locatelli following Ronaldo’s footsteps. Coca Cola gonna be a meme at this point.”
One viewer commented: “Coca Cola social media team working overtime so that this doesn’t trend.”
A Ronaldo follower stated: “After Cristiano Ronaldo removed the Coke bottles during the press conference. Locatelli does the same. The influence is unmatched.”
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