Ronaldinho's apparent preference for the taste of Pepsi over Coca-Cola has cost him a cool £500,000 after he was dumped by the latter for flirting with their rivals.

The Brazilian superstar counted Coca-Cola among his numerous sponsorship deals, but made a dreadful error of judgement when he was pictured sipping from a can of Pepsi during a press-conference.

Ronaldinho's performances since his return to Brazil and public contract dispute with Flamengo have seen him attract headlines for the wrong reasons over the past few months.

And, following his latest mistake, Coke showed no hesitation in ending their sponsorship deal with the 32-year-old former FIFA World Player of the Year.

"The fact that the player has appeared with a can of Pepsi was the straw that broke the camel's back," Coca Cola marketing chief Marcelo Pontes told O Estado de Sao Paulo. "The sponsorship had become embarrassing."

Last month, Ronaldinho agreed to join Atlético Mineiro - a somewhat surprising choice - having entered into legal proceedings with Flamengo claiming unpaid wages.

The World Cup winner moved to Rio de Janeiro in January 2011 having spent two years at the San Siro with AC Milan.

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