This article examines how the news media framed the allegations made in 2016 against Cristiano Ronaldo for evading taxes through offshores, and how audiences discussed this online, in Portugal, where he is originally from, and Spain, where he played football at the time. These countries were amidst an “austerity culture” justifying welfare cuts, promoting entrepreneurialism as “success”, and presenting neoliberal policies as “common sense”. Our analysis reveals Ronaldo portrayed as a member of the economic elite criticized for the high earnings of football players and celebrity tax privileges; as an ungrateful immigrant who does not contribute enough to society; and as “one like us” maneuvering to evade taxes. The comparative analysis shows audiences had double standards based on their feelings toward the celebrity, and they interpreted this case positively or negatively in relation to the inefficiency of the fiscal and justice systems in Southern Europe.
- Southern Europe
- Taxation imaginaries