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Coleen Rooney arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice on May 13 in London.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

In 2016, politics became the new sports – that is, the thing everyone was suddenly interested in and following closely.

Then getting involved became the new sports. And then virology, followed by despair, followed by baking, followed by real estate. As the world speeds up, we’re getting a new sports every couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, the new sports was celebrity court cases.

But now, finally, things are starting to circle back around – celebrity court cases about sports are the new sports.

While we in North America continue rolling around in the sordid mess that is Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard, Britain’s got spring’s frothy, fun defamation case.

Rebekah Vardy (wife of England soccer player Jamie) vs. Coleen Rooney (wife of England potato farmer Wayne) has got it all. Bold-faced names, online stings, hacked phones, daily wardrobe dance-offs, a man-made pond’s worth of tears and absolutely zero real-world stakes.

The broad strokes: Coleen Rooney is the once and future queen of England’s soccer WAGs (wives and girlfriends). With Rooney’s husband in athletic decline, Rebekah Vardy coveted her crown.

Vardy tried to get cozy with Rooney. Rooney brought her in, but kept her at a remove.

When Rooney’s intimate business began finding its way into the tabloids, she became suspicious. Eventually, those suspicions landed on Vardy, who had access to her private Instagram account.

Rooney planted a series of made-up stories there. She fixed her settings so that only Vardy could see them. She began to hear back about them from reporters seeking comment. Eventually, in a style reminiscent of Poirot, Rooney revealed the results of her investigation on Instagram.

No gossip happening can bust through the public consciousness until it is given a great nickname. Rooney v. Vardy got one of the best – the ‘Wagatha Christie’ affair.

A good lawyer knows there are two rules of civil action – you can sue anyone for anything; and, unless you enjoy pain, you should never sue anybody. So Vardy sued.

Over the past two weeks in court, the result has been Vardy’s public immolation. Unless she owns a petard, she could not possibly be more hoisted on one.

As usual these days, the problem is phones. Memory is malleable, but the cloud never forgets. A huge dump of Vardy’s private text correspondence forms the backbone of Rooney’s defence.

Most of the texts are WhatsApp exchanges between Vardy and her agent and apparent cutout with the press, Caroline Watt.

In them, the pair talk discuss leaking stories to the yellow tops about husband Jamie’s colleagues. In one instance, after giving Watt the details about a teammate’s drunk-driving arrest, Vardy said: “I want paying for this.”

The pair revelled in calling Rooney unprintable names. They LOL’d through Rooney’s revelation that she’d been betrayed by someone she trusted. Per Watt: “And it wasn’t someone she trusted. It was me (smiley face).”

Rooney’s team contends that many other incriminating texts have been deleted or destroyed. Despite being warned to hang on to it for the case, Watt ‘lost’ her phone on a boating trip.

During cross-examination, Rooney’s lawyer lamented that Watt’s phone and whatever evidence it contained was now “lying at the bottom of the sea in Davy Jones’s locker.”

“Who is Davy Jones?” Vardy asked.

Inevitably, the two husbands were pulled into it. A British soccer official told the court how Vardy and a group of her hangers-on had bullied her out of her assigned seats at a big England soccer match. Vardy wanted to sit directly behind Rooney, apparently so that cameras could catch them together.

Wayne Rooney testified that, as captain of the team, he’d been told by managers to talk to Jamie Vardy about his wife. “Calm her down” was the unfortunate phrase used. Vardy has denied that conversation took place, which means the contagion will continue to spread through the English soccer set-up. Who said what to whom? And who’s to blame? And how does Jamie Vardy ever show his face in an England uniform again? This is why you never, ever sue.

The Vardys are in public-relations freefall, but no one looks more miserable than Wayne Rooney.

Each day, he comes to court wedged into a suit two sizes too small. He’s only 36, but looks like he’s spent every one of those years standing in a strong wind.

During his playing days, Rooney’s extramarital outrages were legendary. Several of them were confirmed and rehashed in court while Rooney sat squirming on the benches. It is a rare instance of finding perfect justice in a courtroom.

Every great story needs a hero and Coleen Rooney is she. In her testimony, she comes off as someone of remarkable good sense (except, perhaps, for her romantic picker). While Vardy has repeatedly collapsed in floods of tears, Rooney is resolute.

“I have never craved press attention in my life,” Rooney testified. “I have had it and I have accepted it and I have tried to cope with it.”

She seems to genuinely be the white elephant of modern bold-face names – a very famous person who has no interest in being famous.

And seeming is all that matters here. The same papers that have slagged her for years are now climbing over themselves to appoint Coleen Rooney the archbishop of British virtue and cunning. If Britain is in terminal decline, at least there’s one person who’s still got a little Winston Churchill in them.

On Wednesday, court recessed. Final arguments will begin Thursday. The judgment will not be rendered for some time, but we already know who’s won and who’s lost.

The public will jeer the downfallen and cheer the hero. Within days, they’ll forget every single thing that happened here aside from the most prurient detail (if you’d like to know more, Google ‘miniature chipolata’). And in 10 years, they’ll make a documentary about it.

Just like sports. But unlike politics, cheap as well as fun.