From goalscorer to politician: the case of Romário and football politics in Brazil

Mark Doidge, Bárbara Schausteck de Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During his playing days, the Brazilian striker Romário was one of the most famous footballers in the world. He played for three of Brazil’s top clubs in Rio de Janeiro, as well as Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven. He won the World Cup and scored over one-thousand goals throughout his career. After this successful career, Romário entered politics, first as a deputy in the city of Rio and later as a senator in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Romário’s electoral success is not simply down to his footballing ability, nor the popularity of the sport in Brazil. Sports stardom, celebrity and celebrity politicians are also engaging with complex cultural processes. He has traded on his footballing stardom, but he also connects with his electorate through specific policy campaigns that resonate particularly well with his Brazilian voters. More importantly, he uses football and his footballer career as a metaphor for the wider problems facing Brazilian society. Drawing on literature from Sports Stardom, Celebrity and Celebrity Politicians, this paper charts the political career of Romário within the socio-political context of Brazil and argues that celebrity politicians still need to engage with their audiences regardless of their previous careers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-278
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2015

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© The Author(s) 2015

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