Football agent Mino Raiola, who brokered the deal that saw Paul Pogba return to Manchester United for a world-record fee on Tuesday, may be loved by the players he represents, but he is not exactly held in high esteem by the clubs who employ them.
"I distrusted him from the moment I met him," former United manager Alex Ferguson said of Raiola after he struck a deal to move Pogba to Juventus in 2012. "There are one or two football agents I simply do not like - and Mino Raiola is one of them."
Raiola fired back: "I put Pogba's interests first... Maybe Ferguson only likes those who obey him."
Show me the money
Raiola's Amsterdam-based firm Maguire took its name from "Jerry Maguire", the 1996 film starring Tom Cruise as a sports agent who gets fired for suggesting his company has taken on too many athletes to properly serve their clients.
The Pogba deal is the third Raiola has struck with United under new manager Jose Mourinho, following the recent signing of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan as the Portuguese coach seeks to revamp the underperforming squad.
THE MAN IS UNITED— Mino Raiola (@MinoRaiola) 8 August 2016
The Italian media has dubbed Raiola "Mister 300 Million" as he has now negotiated deals worth more than 300 million euros - including Pogba's record fee of 89 million pounds ($115.42 million).
According to Gazetta dello Sport, Raiola is pocketing 25 million euro for his services and it has been observed that his large commission had held up the talks with United.
Born in Italy, Raiola grew up in the Netherlands, working in his family's Italian restaurant in Haarlem, where the president of the local soccer team ate every week, giving him his first break by appointing the young man sporting director of the club.
From translating to transfers
Raiola's entry into the lucrative market for top soccer players came in 1993 when he - fluent in seven or eight languages - was asked to work as a translator in the transfer of Dutch midfielder Dennis Bergkamp from Ajax Amsterdam to Inter Milan.
Three years later he negotiated his first solo deal, the move of Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved to Lazio. Raiola hit the big time after he dined with Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Amsterdam, negotiating his transfer from Juventus to Inter Milan in 2006 for 25 million euros and then to Barcelona in 2009 for 70 million euros.
Raiola has a reputation for being confrontational, calling former FIFA President Sepp Blatter a "demented dictator" and making a failed bid last year to replace him at the head of world soccer's governing body. Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis called Raiola a "pain in the backside".
However, Raiola shrugs off the criticism. "My public image does not interest me because in the world there is always someone who loves you and who hates you for what you say or do," he told Italy's Corriere dello Sport last month."I am at the service of my players to whom I give everything, 150 percent of myself ... I want the best for my players."
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