Mino Raiola went from being a pizza chef in Holland to engineering the biggest deals in the world

Super agent Mino Raiola was confirmed dead on Saturday from illness, his family confirmed.

Raiola was considered a ‘super-agent’ due to the sparkling array of talent he represented and a number will be on the move this summer. He helped engineer some of the biggest moves in world football during his career.

Right here, sports mail looked at how the 54-year-old has had such a global impact on football from such humble beginnings.

Top super agent Mino Raiola has died aged 54 following illness

When agent Mino Raiola got his first big chance as a translator during Dennis Bergkamp’s transfer to Inter Milan in 1993, he secretly photocopied all the relevant documents so he knew how to do the job himself. even next time.

It was a ruthless act that helped make the 48-year-old the agent at the center of world football’s biggest transfer, adored by clients such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba and hated by nearly everyone.

Bombastic and defiant, he insulted Pep Guardiola, fell out with Sir Alex Ferguson and worked his way through various lucrative deals that earned him the nickname ‘Mr Three Hundred Million’.

Mino Raiola could pocket £20m from Paul Pogba transfer from Juventus to Manchester United

Mino Raiola could pocket £20m from Paul Pogba transfer from Juventus to Manchester United

Ibrahimovic considered him a “weird” when they first met, before the former pizza maker made him a huge fortune.

Now Manchester United are indebted, having already signed two of their players – Zlatan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – with a world-record £100m deal for Pogba next, with Raiola pocketing a further £20m personally.

But who is this tough, rude and uncompromising agent whose company, Maguire Tax & Legal, is a tribute to the movie character Jerry ‘Show me the Money’ Maguire, and whose ability to divide opinions matches that of Donald Trump.

How does a pizza chef from Haarlem in Holland find himself in a flash apartment overlooking the yachts of the port of Monaco, who spends his holidays discussing business with Pogba in the swimming pools of Miami?

His success story is a mixture of talent and cruelty. Born in Italy, he moved to Holland as a baby and grew up in Haarlem in the family pizzeria.

With his own football career over at 18, young Raiola studied law, helped in the family business and persuaded the local football club to appoint him director of football. More importantly, he has developed an aptitude for languages ​​and can speak seven – Italian, Dutch, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Ibrahimovic and Raiola (right) are pictured alongside Adriano Galliani and Silvio Berlusconi

Ibrahimovic and Raiola (right) are pictured alongside Adriano Galliani and Silvio Berlusconi

It was this talent that alerted Rob Jansen, the Netherlands’ most famous agent, to the need for an interpreter when he oversaw Bergkamp’s transfer from Ajax to Inter Milan in 1993.

Raiola was professional, seemed hardworking, and got a full-time job with Sport-Promotion, Jansen’s company. So it was a huge shock when Raiola suddenly left to set up on his own as a direct rival. Jansen has not spoken to him since.

Raiola’s first big deal was when he took Pavel Nedved to Lazio after Euro 96. But his moment changed his life when he invited young Ajax striker Ibrahimovic to a restaurant and discovered that ‘they were kindred spirits, not caring what other people thought. of them.

The officer, standing under 5ft 7in and weighing over 16, showed up in jeans.

‘Was he supposed to be an agent? Weird,” Zlatan said. “We had a massive spread, enough to feed five people, and he started gorging.”

By then, the horror had turned to reluctant admiration, and the couple became partners for life.

Ibrahimovic allowed Raiola to drive his Porsche around Amsterdam and the agent plotted with Juventus chief Luciano Moggi to force Ibra out of the Netherlands.

The striker got his shot and then other big ones at the two Milan clubs, Barcelona, ​​PSG and now United. To reward herself, Raiola moved to the Riviera and embraced the glitter lifestyle.

He was nicknamed “Mr Five Per Cent” and seemed to specialize in eccentrics.

Raiola has represented players such as Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Raiola has represented players such as Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic

He sold Manchester City’s Robinho to AC Milan and guided Mario Balotelli through some extreme ups and downs.

When times were good, Raiola described Balotelli as an important part of Italian culture. Now that the striker is rotting away at Liverpool with no obvious buyer, his agent is taking on the role of chief cheering. “In life, it’s never too late,” is his current advice to the player. Others saw a less noble side. “He’s a bastard,” was Raiola’s opinion of Guardiola at Barcelona. “He was the one who took Ibra to Barcelona and then treated him like crap.”

Raiola claimed he was a Napoli fan and tried to develop a special relationship with the club, but their president Aurelio De Laurentiis called it ‘a bad back’.

Ferguson was unhappy with how he believed Raiola had improperly influenced the Pogba family to force the 19-year-old out of Old Trafford in 2012.

“I was suspicious of him from the moment I met him,” the United manager said. “There are one or two football agents that I just don’t like – and Mino Raiola is one of them.

“We had Paul on a three-year contract and there was a one-year renewal option which we were eager to sign. But Raiola suddenly appeared on the scene and our first meeting was a fiasco.

Raiola acted as a translator in the deal that brought Dennis Bergkamp to Inter Milan from Ajax

Raiola acted as a translator in the deal that brought Dennis Bergkamp to Inter Milan from Ajax

“He and I were like oil and water. From (the first meeting), our goose was cooked because Raiola had been able to make himself seen well by Paul and his family and the player signed with Juventus.

Raiola is generally dismissive of his reputation. “I put Pogba’s interests first and we decided to go to Turin. Ferguson maybe only likes those who obey him,” the agent replies.

“My public image doesn’t interest me because in the world there is always someone who loves you and hates you for what you say or do.”

Roberto Martinez, the former Everton manager, is another who felt used by Raiola last season because of stories about Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in another client, Romelu Lukaku. “I don’t entertain rumours,” said Martinez, usually a diplomat.

The friends Raiola has, and he entrusts much of his business to his son Vicenzo, worry about the damage all the stress can do to a man of his size.

Raiola jokes about Pogba but many have already had their stomachs full of the agent this summer

Raiola jokes about Pogba but many have already had their stomachs full of the agent this summer

At Borussia Dortmund this summer, onlookers were shocked when Raiola got so upset he started banging chairs and tables in a fury as it looked like Mkhitaryan’s £28m move to United was going to collapse. This was not the case.

Superstar players like it, and that’s the thing. Even Ibrahimovic will accept Raiola’s criticism before anyone else after the Dutchman complained that he couldn’t sell him unless he scores more goals. Their unique relationship meant the kick to the rear worked.

“I was too happy with myself, thinking I was all of that,” Ibrahimovic said. “But it was the wrong attitude. I had been too lazy and started giving everything I had in training and games.

Raiola, who has already taken more than £250million in player contract and salary cuts, still dresses in polo shirts and trainers – struggling to find a smart Italian suit in his size. These shirts often sweat.

The fall in the pound means Raiola’s fee has risen significantly for United since Brexit on June 23.

Raiola, along with AC Milan sporting director Galliani, is outspoken and indifferent to criticism

Raiola, along with AC Milan sporting director Galliani, is outspoken and indifferent to criticism

It doesn’t bother the agent at all. He and Pogba looked like a footballing odd couple as they splashed out in Miami over the weekend with the Frenchman posting a picture on Instagram.

The world’s most valuable footballer and his agent seem to revel in their power.

It’s not very edifying, perhaps, but Raiola doesn’t care.

“I am not in the world to please others but to do what is right. I serve my players,” he said.

That’s good, because they’re probably his only friends.