Mino Raiola’s top five transfers: Pogba, De Ligt, Zlatan, Nedved...
The Italian super-agent was reported to have died on Thursday but confirmed he remains very much alive. We take a look at his biggest deals.
Super-agent Mino Raiola, who is in hospital but personally denied reports of his demise on Thursday, was born in Italy but grew up in the Netherlands and started out at agency Sports Promotions, with the very first deal he was involved in taking Frank Rijkaard from Sporting Lisbon to AC Milan. His early deals mostly involved Dutch players moving to Serie A and one of the most notable of these was the transfer of Dennis Bergkamp’s from Ajax to Inter Milan in 1993.
If Raiola has become synonymous with one player, it is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The super-agent brokered six of the Swedish forward’s career moves – initially from Ajax to Juventus and then to Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Manchester United – for a combined fee of just over €130m.
Raiola’s current stable of players includes established stars Erling Haaland, Paul Pogba, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Matthijs de Ligt, Denzel Dumfries and Marco Verratti, as well as up-and-coming youngsters such as Moise Kean, Justin Kluivert, Brian Bobbey, Ryan Gravenberch and Donyell Malen. And, of course, he still represents Zlatan.
Mino Raiola’s top five transfers
1: Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United, €105m)
Paul Pogba’s 2016 move from Juventus to Manchester United was briefly the most expensive transfer in football history and reportedly landed Raiola a €25m payday for brokering the deal (a good chunk of which he subsequently spent on buying Al Capone’s former Miami residence). Pogba’s move has since slipped down to eight on the all-time list and there are question marks as to whether the France forward, who has never fully realised his potential at Old Trafford, may be on the move again this summer.
2: Romelu Lukaku (Everton to Manchester United, €85m)
The Belgium forward had a curious early career. Today’s powerful forward and clinical finisher was a little more enigmatic when starting out and failed to cut José Mourinho’s mustard, being farmed out on loan to West Brom and Everton. The Toffees made that deal permanent in 2014 and Lukaku exploded, earning a move to United in 2017. Things didn’t quite work out at Old Trafford and he headed to Inter for a club record €80m, before rejoining Chelsea for €115m in 2021, both latter deals conducted by his current agent, Federico Pastorello.
3: Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax to Juventus, €75m)
Following Ajax’s eye-catching run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19, the Dutch club’s young side was picked apart. Raiola may have missed out on landing a young Frenkie de Jong, who is represented by HCM Sports, but he still earned himself a considerable payday when 2018 Golden Boy Matthijs de Ligt joined Juve for €75m in at the age of 19.
4: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter to Barcelona, €46m)
Quite how either Zlatan or Pep Guardiola thought it was going to work is anybody’s guess but Barça shelled out €46m and sent Samuel Eto’o to San Siro for the Swede in 2009. Relations between the Swede and Guardiola, and Messi and Zlatan, became strained quickly enough and he lasted just a season before moving to AC Milan on loan, calling Guardiola a “spineless coward” on his way out of the door. He later noted of the decision to build the team around Messi: “He wasn’t the worst coach I’d worked under, but he was certainly the most immature because a man solves his problems.” To add injury to insult, Inter and Eto’o went on to win the Champions League under José Mourinho, knocking out Barça in the semi-finals.
5: Pavel Nedved (Lazio to Juventus, €41m)
One of Raiola’s earliest transfer dealings was also one of his finest as Czech genius Nedved moved to Turin from Lazio, where he won two Serie A titles, two Coppas Italia and the Ballon d’Or as a replacement for none other than Zinedine Zidane. He was also in the side that won the 2005 and 2006 Scudetti that were later revoked due to the Calciopoli match fixing scandal but stuck around as Juve were demoted to Serie B as punishment, helped them back up and secured his place as a club legend before retiring in 2009. He is now Juventus’ vice-chairman.