Mino Raiola: Football’s ‘Super-Agent’

Sir Alex Ferguson called him a very rude word. He’s been investigated for transfer
irregularities. Last year he bought Al Capone’s villa in Miami. He was a millionaire aged 19
after buying then selling a McDonalds franchise. But most importantly, Carmine ‘Mino’
Raiola is one of the most powerful men in football. Agent to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Romelu
Lukaku and Gianluigi Donnarumma, Raiola guides the careers of some of the biggest
stars in the game, a brash character who encourages the same in his clients and has
players on his books worth a total north of £300million. But how did this man who used to work in his
family’s pizzeria, an outsider in the football business who prefers shorts and
a t-shirt to a suit, become so influential? Raiola was born in 1967 in Nocera Inferiore
[IN-FIDI-OR-RAY], a small town about 20km outside Naples. When he was just a year old his family moved
to Haarlem in the Netherlands, where they opened their first
restaurant. When Raiola was 11, he started
helping out in the restaurant, washing dishes, then waiting tables and eventually he became
an integral part of the family business. By the time he was a teenager he was already
negotiating deals with banks for the business, and eventually started a company, Intermezzo,
who would help Italian firms in the Netherlands. It was around this time he made his first
fortune, selling that branch of McDonalds to a property developer. He also briefly played for the youth team
of his local club, FC Haarlem, but it was soon recognised
that his talents lay off the pitch. He became the
club’s sporting director, but despite a typically ambitious plan to sign a young Dennis
Bergkamp, he soon fell out with the Haarlem board, and instead began to work with an
agency called Sports Promotions. He became more and more involved with the
football business, initially as an interpreter to
help with Bergkamp’s move to Inter, then facilitating moves for Dutch players to Italy,
including Wim Jonk and Bryan Roy. In the mid-1990s he formed his own company
and signed up Pavel Nedved, at that point playing for
Sparta Prague, and after an impressive performance at Euro 96, sold the winger to
Lazio. It was after brokering Nedved’s subsequent
transfer to Juventus that Raiola’s reputation really began to grow. In 2001, he met the player who would make
him a household name, arriving at a posh Amsterdam restaurant in
a Nike t-shirt where he persuaded Zlatan Ibrahimovic, dressed in a sharp suit, to let
him guide his career. At that meeting Raiola provided statistics
telling the young striker that he was far behind his contemporaries, and
instructed him to “sell all your cars and watches.” Ibrahimovic compared him to a character
from the Sopranos. “Do you want to be the best in the world? Or the player who earns most
and can show off the most stuff?” Raiola asked Ibrahimovic. The Swede chose the first
option. Raiola added more players to his portfolio:
Ibrahimovic’s mate Maxwell, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Pogba and Mario Balotelli. It’s probably the last two that have brought
him the most notoriety. To give an indication of how much his players
lean on him, Balotelli once called Raiola to tell him his house was
on fire. Raiola suggested he called the fire
brigade. When Raiola began working with Pogba, at that
stage a promising but unpolished midfielder coming through at Manchester United, he demanded
an improved contract for his player. “I
distrusted him from the moment I met him,” said Alex Ferguson. “He and I were like oil and
water.” Ferguson called him a ‘twat’, refused to grant
the improved terms and Pogba left for Juventus. When United bought him back in 2016, Raiola
earned a reported £41million in fees and commission from all three parties involved. It was with this money he bought the Capone
house.​ For all the brashness, it’s clear that Raiola
serves his clients well. Or, perhaps we shouldn’t
call them clients. “He is extremely loyal to the people who are
in his inner circle, and that means his players,” once said Thijs Slegers,
a Dutch journalist and friend of Raiola. “To him
they are like family. And that’s why he is the perfect negotiator
because you always want to do the best for your family.”

100 thoughts on “Mino Raiola: Football’s ‘Super-Agent’

  1. Fifa should put a cap to player prices and player wages this needs to stop ASAP… They are turning the beauty full game in a pay to win game these mofo worst than Activision

  2. Learning that Mino Raiola is the one who did the McDonalds sale in my city center is probably the single most random lesson I could possibly have learned here

  3. Riola – whats going on Mario? Cant do much about that transfer at 3 am…
    Mario – No, no its not about the transfer… actually… my house is umm… on fire. Not really su…
    Riola – call the fucking fire department click

  4. From this entire character portrait I do get an impression of mino being like an old Bostonian new Yorker mafioso with the family and loyalty bits in ???

  5. So he’s an ego driven agent to egotistical players, I respect the hustle though, footballs a industry of users so i don’t blame him, everybody’s gotta eat. Ps Tifo is the best footy channel

  6. i think he is messing up peoples careers because his no agent of stability…his a football mafia boss

  7. as much he can’t be an a-hole or a overpricing c*nt, you must respect his hustle and where he came from, now the way i view this man has forever changed my perspective

  8. Raiola forces young players to make big money moves over developing into good enough players at their current club. This causes a lot of players to be at clubs beyond their abilities and indirectly destroying their career. That’s not for the benefit of the player, just to make sure he gets his money for the player.

  9. He uses scumbag tactics but he gets results, he's too much power over united.. But I hate the glazers more so what do I care if his clients get high wages lol

  10. if you are an ok player and your agent finds you a good contract, that's nice, pay the agent, but if you are a great player and everybody wants you, then you just need a lawyer to negotiate your contract.

  11. He is actually a crude hustler and the single biggest disrupted of the Club Football system. The guy acquiring Capone’s house is more than symbolic.

  12. Mino Raiola is football biggest scumbag, Sir Alex Ferguson was right, the man was a corrupted/money swindling epidemic virus!!!

  13. Great agent. I would've wanted him as my agents if I was a football player. Always brings his players to big clubs and manages to get them big salaries. Also great for himself for obtaining high as possible commissions from those corporate football clubs that have enough millions to spend.

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