Marcelo Pontes, marketing chief for Coca-Cola, branded the sponsorship deal “embarrassing”.
He told a Brazilian paper: “The fact that the player has appeared with a can of Pepsi was the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
The mistake is the latest in a line of blunders by the two-time FIFA World Player Of The Year, who quit former club Flamengo earlier this year in a legal dispute.
As well as below-par performances on the pitch, the star has been dogged by allegations of unprofessional conduct, reportedly appearing at parties and nightclubs.
But as Atletico Mineiro is sponsored by Pepsi, his latest gaffe may not be entirely the former Barcelona man’s fault. It is thought likely that cans of the drink are usually present during press conferences….
The star’s £500,000-a-year contract with the drinks giant had been scheduled to run until 2014.