Mino Raiola

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Mino Raiola
Mino Raiola, de eigenaar van Grand Café Doria. NL-HlmNHA 54035048.JPG
Raiola in 1994
Born
Carmine Raiola

(1967-11-04)4 November 1967
Died30 April 2022(2022-04-30) (aged 54)
Milan, Lombardy, Italy
OccupationFootball agent
Years active1992–2022

Carmine "Mino" Raiola (Italian: [ˈkarmine ˈmiːno ˈraːjola, - raˈjɔːla]; 4 November 1967 – 30 April 2022) was a Dutch-Italian football agent known for having represented players such as Pavel Nedvěd, Zlatan Ibrahimović, and Paul Pogba.

Raiola began his career in the Netherlands in 1992, where he had lived since moving there as a child, helping transfer Dutch players to Italy's Serie A. After starting his own agency, he became a renowned super-agent who was involved with many of the most high-profile and expensive transfers of the new millennium. A controversial figure, Raiola developed a reputation among players as an agent who achieved the best for his clients, while many owners and managers considered him untrustworthy.

Early life[edit]

Raiola was born in 1967 in Nocera Inferiore, Campania, in southern Italy. He moved to the Dutch city of Haarlem a year later with his parents.[1][2] Growing up in the Netherlands, his father established a chain of pizzerias,[3] where Raiola spent his younger years, first washing dishes in an attempt to grow closer to his father,[4] and later as a waiter.[5] Due to his Dutch-language skills being greater than those of his father, he eventually began advising and organising within the business.[2] At the same time, he obtained his high school diploma and attended university for two years, enrolling in the Faculty of Law.[6] In a 2016 interview with German sports magazine 11 Freunde, he said his law studies were wasted time; "after all, I can buy lawyers".[2] He started playing football for the youth team of HFC Haarlem, but stopped at age 18 in 1987 to become head of the youth team,[1] and later as the clubs' technical director.[2][4]

Agency career[edit]

After a brief venture as a player and administrator, Raiola remained involved in the football world as a football agent. He began working at Sports Promotions,[7] a sports agency company, and assisted in the transfers of several high-profile Dutch players to Italian clubs, including Ajax player Bryan Roy (in 1992 to Foggia), Marciano Vink (in 1993 to Genoa), Wim Jonk and Dennis Bergkamp (both in 1993 to Internazionale), and Michel Kreek (in 1994 to Padua). Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports in 2021, Roy and Kreek both praised Raiola for his ability to help them settle and taking the time to help with everyday aspects of their lives, including opening bank accounts, buying cars and accommodation.[8] While staying with Roy in Foggia, Raiola met his wife and encountered the club's manager Zdeněk Zeman, with whom he quickly became friends.[9] Zeman wanted a player "who dribbled like Maradona, ran 17 km per game and trained like a fanatic", but Raiola believed such a player did not exist.[10]

After falling out with Rob Jansen, who had founded Sports Promotions and had been Raiola's boss,[11] he decided to leave the company and start his own business. In 1995, the European Court of Justice's Bosman ruling allowed out-of-contract players to move throughout the European Union without transfer fees; coupled with an increase in television money in the sport, this made transfers and player contracts more important in club football, and therefore meant agents were more necessary to players than ever.[3] His first major independent transfer was Pavel Nedvěd's signing from Sparta Prague for Lazio following his impressive performance at UEFA Euro 1996.[8][9] Lazio's manager at the time was Zeman, and was the player he had requested from Raiola years earlier.[10] Raiola sold the template of Nedved, an "extremist" who "can train harder than you can imagine", to several players throughout his career.[4][7][9] Raiola instigated Nedved's transfer to Juventus in 2001,[12] where he would win the Ballon d'Or in 2003,[13] and resulting in a commission of six billion lira.[14] He later guided several of Zlatan Ibrahimović's transfers that led him to being cumulatively the second-most expensive footballer in history by 2016.[4]

In 2008, he was involved in two disciplinary hearings instigated by the Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (FIGC) for transfer irregularities as part of a wider investigation of professional football by Italian authorities.[15][16][17][18]

In August 2016, after closing the world record transfer of Paul Pogba to Manchester United, Raiola made a reported €25 million from Pogba's €105 million transfer; subsequently, he bought the former Miami home of one of America's most famous mob bosses, Al Capone, for €9 million.[19] On 8 May 2019, the Italian Football Federation banned Raiola from acting as an agent representative for three months for undisclosed reasons, while his cousin Vincenzo Raiola was banned for two months.[20] On 10 May, the bans were extended worldwide after the FIFA Disciplinary Committee absorbed the Italian federation's decisions.[21] On 13 June, after Raiola and his cousin appealed the original ban to the Federal Court of Appeal in Italy, they won, resulting in a revoking of the three-month ban.[22]

In 2019, Raiola, along with fellow agents Roger Wittmann [de], Jorge Mendes and Jonathan Barnett, formed "The Football Forum", an international movement of players and agents to help create a new football system opposed to FIFA.[23] On 22 January 2020, Raiola, along with Mendes and Barnett among others, threatened FIFA with legal sanctions following the planned cap on transfer payments.[24] During a 2021 interview with The Athletic, Raiola explained that his feelings towards FIFA stemmed from the many scandals and allegations of corruption aimed at the organisation.[25]

Reputation[edit]

Viewed as a "super-agent",[26][27][28] Raiola was among the most high-profile agents in football, with his involvement in lucrative transfers making him as famous as his clients.[7] He was regularly categorised as being among the richest and most powerful agents in the sport,[29][30][31] and upon his death in 2022, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport described him as "the most powerful, the best, the most discussed".[32]

Due to his success, he was a controversial figure seen as unscrupulous and impudent,[33] and his brash style led him into conflict with figures throughout world football such as Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis, who he compared to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini,[34] and former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, who labelled him a "shitbag" while recalling dealings he had with Raiola which lead to the departure of Paul Pogba from the club.[35] Football executive Adriano Galliani, who dealt with Raiola at AC Milan, said he and Raiola developed a positive relationship based on sympathy due to the conflicting interests of the other, and acknowledging that Raiola only wanted what was best for his clients.[36]

Raiola was known as a hardball negotiator,[3] and as an agent who regularly defended his clients from criticism,[37] often leading to him using the media to insult pundits and managers such as Paul Scholes,[38] and Pep Guardiola, saying that as "a person he's an absolute zero. He's a coward, a dog".[39] Dutch journalist Taco van den Velde attributed his success to his hard work and intelligence, and his ability to fight for what was best for his client.[7] Raiola described himself as an "altruist" in contrast to fellow agent Jorge Mendes, who he described as an "egoist", due to the differing motivations of both.[2]

Due to working for his father's restaurant, the caricature of Raiola as the "pizza-maker" was formed following a clash with former Inter Milan player Siniša Mihajlović.[40] He was often characterised as being from the American television programme The Sopranos due to his personality, fashion sense, and attitude,[41] including by Ibrahimović,[42][43] and was regularly underestimated due to his appearance.[44] In his autobiography I Am Zlatan Ibrahimović, he recalled choosing Raiola as his new agent based on a description by Dutch journalist Thijs Slegers [nl] of "Mafioso".[45] Writing for Spanish newspaper Marca in 2016, José Félix Díaz noted that Raiola's residence in Monaco was in a small apartment rather than an luxurious mansion, and his lifestyle had not changed, opting not to wear fancy clothing.[46] His office was based in Monte Carlo and had "no traces of luxury" according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, and only four employees.[10]

Personal life and death[edit]

Raiola resided in the principality of Monaco with his family.[4] He spoke seven languages: Italian, English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch.[1][10]

In January 2022, Raiola was admitted to San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, where he underwent surgery.[47] Staff of Raiola denied reports he was in intensive care, describing them as "routine checks", and he was discharged ten days later.[48] In April, Raiola's business partner and a doctor treating him both indicated that Raiola was "fighting" for his life.[49] On 28 April, several news outlets reported his death, which he subsequently refuted in a social media post, stating: "Second time in 4 months they kill me."[50] On 30 April, Raiola's family released a statement confirming that he had died at the age of 54.[51]

Selection of past clients[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Crecchi, Paolo (18 March 2011). "Il cacciatore di piedi: Mino Raiola" [The hunter of feet: Mino Raiola]. Il Secolo XIX (in Italian). Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Schneider, Charlotte (9 August 2016). ""In der Bundesliga verhandeln Nichtskönner"" ["In the Bundesliga, non-professionals negotiate"]. 11 Freunde (in German). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Kuper, Simon (1 May 2022). "Mino Raiola, football agent, 1967-2022". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e Kuper, Simon (28 October 2016). "Mino Raiola: meet the super-agent behind Pogba and Ibrahimovic". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  5. ^ Piccardi, Gaia (23 August 2014). "Parla Raiola: "Balotelli non è leader, Liverpool per lui è l'ultima spiaggia"". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Archived from the original on 11 November 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Calciomercato: il trionfo di Mino Raiola" [Transfer market: the triumph of Mino Raiola]. Panorama (in Italian). 31 August 2010. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Williams, Tom (23 August 2019). "Dr. Mino and Mr. Raiola: The Two Sides of Football's Most Controversial Agent". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  8. ^ a b Bate, Adam (8 November 2021). "Mino Raiola's rise from pizzeria worker to becoming a football super-agent". Sky Sports. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Haugstad, Thore (16 February 2019). "Just like family: The dealings of Mino Raiola". Time On The Ball. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d Gamba, Emanuele (30 April 2022). "Chi era Mino Raiola, il procuratore re del calciomercato" [Who was Mino Raiola, the prosecutor king of the transfer market]. La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  11. ^ Koster, Mark; Zeven, Martijn (2 April 2018). "Quote 500-zaakwaarnemer Mino Raiola: 'Rob Jansen heeft al tien jaar niet geslapen om mij'" [Quote 500 agent Mino Raiola: 'Rob Jansen hasn't slept for ten years because of me']. Quote (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  12. ^ Tristán, Carlos (8 August 2016). "'Superagente' Raiola" ['Superagent' Raiola]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  13. ^ Rice-Coates, Callum (31 July 2017). "Mino Raiola: the super-agent who changed the face of modern football". These Football Times. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  14. ^ Cardone, Giulio (30 April 2022). "Raiola, la prima missione impossibile: Nedved dalla Lazio alla Juventus e quella commissione da sei miliardi di lire" [Raiola, the first impossible mission: Nedved from Lazio to Juventus and that six-billion-lire commission]. La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
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  19. ^ a b Gladwell, Ben (18 August 2016). "Pogba and Ibrahimovic's agent Mino Raiola buys Al Capone's home". ESPN. Archived from the original on 4 June 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  20. ^ a b c Campanale, Susy (8 May 2019). "Agent Raiola given three-month ban". Football Italia. Archived from the original on 7 November 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Raiola ban extended worldwide". Football Italia. 10 May 2019. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  22. ^ "Raiola three-month ban revoked". Football Italia. 13 June 2019. Archived from the original on 17 June 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  23. ^ Löwendorf, Niclas; Berger, Patrick (10 December 2021). "Raiola: "Meine Spieler sind alle krank im Kopf" - exklusiv im SPORT1-Interview über Haaland-Wechsel and kommende Transfers" [Raiola: "My players are all sick in the head" - exclusively in the SPORT1 interview about Haaland change and upcoming transfers]. Sport1 (in German). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  24. ^ Stone, Simon (22 January 2020). "Agents threaten Fifa with legal action over transfer payment cap plans". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 23 January 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  25. ^ Taylor, Daniel; Horncastle, James (30 March 2021). "Interview: Mino Raiola and Jonathan Barnett, two football super agents". The Athletic. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  26. ^ Williams, Richard (24 June 2019). "Super-agent Mino Raiola is a player's dream and a manager's nightmare". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  27. ^ Herbert, Ian (9 May 2017). "The explosive documents which reveal the extent of 'super-agent' Mino Raiola's extraordinary earning power". The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 May 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  28. ^ Roan, Dan (23 February 2021). "Mino Raiola on Erling Braut Haaland, Paul Pogba, scrapping relegation and the future of football". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  29. ^ "The 20 most powerful football agents in European football". The Daily Telegraph. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  30. ^ Quarrell, Dan (27 July 2016). "Who are football's biggest agents? What is a super agent? Jorge Mendes, Mino Raiola - big transfers". Eurosport. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  31. ^ Davies, Huw (19 October 2016). "The 20 most powerful agents in football". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  32. ^ Zara, Furio (30 April 2022). "Bravo, potente, temuto (e amato dai suoi campioni): così Mino dal nulla è diventato il re del mercato" [Bravo, powerful, feared (and loved by his champions): so Mino out of nowhere became the king of the market]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  33. ^ Zara, Furio (30 April 2022). "La storia di Raiola, il Re Mida in bermuda che ha cambiato il calcio" [The story of Raiola, the King Midas in Bermuda who changed football]. CalcioMercato (in Italian). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  34. ^ "Raiola: De Laurentiis pensa di essere ai tempi del fascismo e Hamsik è meglio che vada via, come Insigne" [Raiola: De Laurentiis thinks he is at the time of fascism and Hamsik better go away, like Insigne]. Il Napolista (in Italian). 23 July 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  35. ^ Lovett, Samuel (4 July 2017). "Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson brands Mino Raiola a 'shitbag'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 15 May 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  36. ^ Colombo, Monica (1 May 2022). "Galliani: "Raiola era duro ma leale. Due gli affari che non dimenticherò mai"" [Galliani: "Raiola was tough but loyal. Two deals that I will never forget"]. Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  37. ^ "Seven times Mino Raiola has pissed clubs off: Man Utd, Liverpool, Barca". Planet Football. 8 December 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  38. ^ "Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola slams Paul Scholes' criticism of Manchester United star". Sky Sports. 21 August 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  39. ^ Moxley, Neil (24 May 2018). "Super-agent Mino Raiola launches incredible attack on Pep Guardiola: "He's a coward, a dog"". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  40. ^ Löwendorf, Niclas; Berger, Patrick (9 December 2021). "Mino Raiola: "Zorc muss mich gehasst haben" - exklusiv im SPORT1-Interview über BVB, Haaland and seine Karriere" [Mino Raiola: "Zorc must have hated me" - exclusively in the SPORT1 interview about BVB, Haaland and his career]. Sport1 (in German). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  41. ^ Knipping, Tom (11 October 2016). "Hoe cowboy Mino Raiola in 25 jaar het voetbal veroverde" [How cowboy Mino Raiola conquered football in 25 years]. Voetbal International (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  42. ^ Keith, Felix (1 May 2022). "Mino Raiola: From pizza chef to football's most powerful agent via Alex Ferguson row". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  43. ^ Horncastle, James (1 May 2022). "Mino Raiola, the superagent loved by football's biggest stars". The Athletic. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  44. ^ "Mino Raiola: 'Genius' and 'big mouth' best friend to the stars". France 24. 9 July 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  45. ^ Hytner, David (9 August 2016). "Mino Raiola: a fearless negotiator who got his revenge with Paul Pogba deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  46. ^ Díaz, José Félix (4 September 2016). "Raiola, de vender pizzas a ser el rey del verano" [Raiola, from selling pizzas to being the king of summer]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  47. ^ "Raiola operato, è sotto osservazione al San Raffaele. Poi twitta: "Controlli programmati"" [Raiola operated, is under observation at San Raffaele. Then he tweets: "Scheduled checks"]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 12 January 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  48. ^ "Mino Raiola dimesso dall'ospedale San Raffaele di Milano" [Mino Raiola discharged from San Raffaele Hospital in Milan]. La Repubblica (in Italian). 12 January 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  49. ^ "Agent Mino Raiola angry amid false reporting of death". ESPN. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  50. ^ Morgan, Tom (28 April 2022). "Super-agent Mino Raiola insists he is not dead: 'Second time in four months they kill me'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  51. ^ "Mino Raiola, one of football's most powerful agents, dies aged 54". The Guardian. 30 April 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  52. ^ Alexis Pereira, Par (23 April 2013). "Ibra, Matuidi, Capoue : Les croustillantes indiscrétions de Mino Raiola" (Press release) (in French). footmercato.net. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  53. ^ Chandler, Michael J. "Pogba, De Ligt agent Raiola banned by FIFA". theScore.com. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  54. ^ "Sporting briefs". Times of Malta. 31 August 2004. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
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  58. ^ "Chucky Lozano se va con el representante de Ibra y Pogba". MedioTiempo (in Mexican Spanish). 23 April 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  59. ^ "Lukaku says goodbye to Raiola; his new agent is Jay-Z". calciomercato.com. 19 April 2018. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  60. ^ "Milan continue to evaluate PSV's Malen". calciomercato.com. 23 September 2019. Archived from the original on 5 January 2020. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  61. ^ a b "Matuidi change d'agent" (Press release) (in French). SoFoot.com. 24 April 2013. Archived from the original on 4 June 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  62. ^ "Mino Raiola, agent of Pogba and De Ligt, takes Xavi Simons, the great promise of the Masía, from Barça, and sends it to PSG". FC Barcelona Sport. 23 July 2019. Archived from the original on 7 November 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  63. ^ "Official: Verratti hires Raiola". Football Italia. 19 July 2017. Archived from the original on 29 September 2020. Retrieved 29 November 2020.

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