Analysis of Ronaldo's courtroom entrance: we haven't seen such drama on the court steps since Nigella
Is there anything more exhilarating than a celebrity court case?
Since Lindsay Lohan moved to the UAE and appears to have gotten her act together and Hollywood DUIs are no longer a dime a dozen, the real-life celebrity courtroom drama, a familiar trope to entertainment reporters (and followers) in its heyday of the noughties, is all but a dead concept. That is, until Cristiano Ronaldo spearheaded its 2019 comeback with one of the most dramatic appearances going, as he made his way to a court in Madrid in Tuesday.
He admitted tax fraud and was fined €18.8m by prosecutors - a drop in the hat for a man with a lifetime Nike contract in excess of €1bn - but it was arrival and departure that has given me at least some semblance of hope that some celebrities really do take their duties of entertainment very seriously.
This may come as a surprise, but I am not a football expert. The only time it, or its players, enters my sphere is when someone is dating someone else famous I know or when they open the doors to their tacky Cheshire mansion to Hello! magazine. Ronaldo, however, is the exception to this rule and his his level of superstardom is one that supersedes niche interests like showbiz or football; something he was acutely aware of with his carefully choreographed appearance.
Not since Nigella Lawson arrived to Isleworth Crown Court in 2013 dressed for battle as she prepared to take the stand in a fraud case against two of her former assistants Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo, have we seen such compelling legal intrigue. Her testimony would lead to non-relevant issues about her marriage to ex-husband and an admission of drug use, but it was that stoic face of dignity that would go down in pop culture history.
Comparably, when Lohan arrived into court in Los Angeles, usually late and surrounded by a frenzy of media activity, she treated each appearance as her own personal fashion show, debuting new outfits and famously having a manicure with 'f*** u' emblazoned on her middle finger.
Back in 2007, Naomi Campbell also saw the fun in the unavoidable public attention that comes with being famous and committing a crime when she pleaded guilty for throwing her mobile phone at a maid, which resulted in five days of iconic community service. On arrival at Manhattan Criminal Court, she chose a black mini-dress more fitting for the front row in Paris than appearing before a judge. Her choice of floor length couture for her service at the New York City Sanitation Department was a level of diva so rarely seen these days.
That is, until Ronaldo was charged with tax fraud. The 33-year-old added even more flare, beaming arm-in-arm with fiancée Georgina Rodrigeuz, dressed in all black: a knit polo neck, a Balmain blazer and skinny leg trousers, flaunting his diamond encrusted Franck Muller (worth an estimated €1.4m), a pair of tinted Moscot sunglasses and diamond stud earrings. It was the showy display of unity with Rodriguez, who was 22 and working retail at a Gucci store in Madrid where he was shopping when they met, that was clearly a conscious addition just to satiate the tabloids.
It was already going to be an international event - a world renowned athlete defending himself in court - so why not make a production out of it? Rodriguez's outfit was just as ostentatious as she matched him in all black, choosing a raspberry coat and clutching a quilted Chanel mini flap bag.
This is the level of prima donna that we, the public, both want and deserve.