Pepsi, the soft drink giant, have apologised to Cristiano Ronaldo after posting bizarre pictures on their official Facebook page in Sweden of the Portugal forward as a voodoo doll in various forms of distress.
The viral ads were posted on the day of the second-leg of the World Cup qualifying play-off between the two sides, but the black magic had no ill effect on Ronaldo, quite the opposite in fact – he scored a hat-trick as Portugal won 3-2 in Stockholm on Tuesday night.
Pepsi have offered its “sincerest apology” to the player, after three images showed the doll - in red Portugal kit complete with visible No 7 - being tied to a train track, having its head crushed by a can of Pepsi and being spiked by needles.
Under the train track picture was the regretful caption: “We're going to pass over Portugal”.
The manufacturer said: "Football is known for the passion it inspires and the competition is getting more intense. We never wanted to give the sport a negative connotation.
"Sorry to all those who were offended by the posts. They were immediately removed.
"We also offer our most sincere and profound apologies to Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese national side.”
A Facebook page has been set up from angered fans in Portugal saying they will boycott Pepsi, which is one of the main sponsors of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s great footballing rival.