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Coca-Cola cancels Ronaldinho sponsorship

(Xinhua)

09:49, July 11, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Coca-Cola has canceled a sponsorship deal worth 750,000 US dollars a year with Brazilian star Ronaldinho.

The beverage giant released a statement on Monday confirming its partnership with the 32-year-old, which began in November last year and was due to continue until 2014, had ended.

"Coca Cola recognizes the career and the value of Ronaldinho," the statement said. "However due to recent developments it has become impossible to continue the partnership."

Ronaldinho quit Brazilian outfit Flamengo on May 31 and sued the club for 27 million dollars in unpaid wages, bonuses and moral damages.

It followed a turbulent 18 months at the Rio de Janeiro club in which he was beset by poor form and controversy.

Following his departure, Flamengo has accused the midfielder of regular late-night partying, binge drinking and a lack of commitment to training.

It is understood Coca Cola was also unhappy that Ronaldinho was surrounded by Pepsi advertising during a press conference announcing his arrival at Atletico Mineiro.

"That was the last straw for the company but I don't think it was the only reason," ESPM marketing manager Marcelo Pontes told Estadao.

"He didn't perform up to expectations and his name was associated more with negative than positive news."

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