‘Tremendous-agent’ Mino Raiola has change into probably the most controversial and influential figures in world soccer.
His purchasers embody a number of the sport’s largest stars, from Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Erling Braut Haaland and Marco Verratti.
However with the game dealing with an unprecedented monetary disaster due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s mounting scrutiny on brokers, and the huge sums they’ll earn from transfers.
On a bunch of points, nonetheless, Raiola is vowing to problem the sport’s authorities on behalf of his business.
In a wide-ranging and unique interview, the Dutch-Italian informed BBC Sport:
- he predicted Dortmund striker Haaland might be “one of many stars of the subsequent decade”
- he was “bothered” by the notion of brokers, however “my gamers do not name me a parasite”
- he “did not wish to trigger any drawback” when saying Pogba was sad at Manchester United, saying “at any time when I inform my opinion, everybody in England goes berserk”
- brokers are “making ready to go to court docket” over Fifa’s “ridiculous” plans for regulation of their actions
- hailed the English Soccer League’s (EFL) latest withdrawal of proposed wage caps for gamers after a tribunal, saying it was a “logical victory”.
Haaland is ‘star of latest era’
European soccer’s high golf equipment are dealing with billions of pounds of losses on account of the Covid disaster, however Raiola rejects the suggestion that high gamers’ wages and switch charges – and due to this fact brokers’ commissions – will undergo because of this.
“I do not suppose there’s a correlation,” he informed BBC Sport from his workplace in Monaco.
“For the extraordinary skills, there’s at all times area.”
One such expertise is Borussia Dortmund’s 20 year-old striker Haaland, one of the hottest properties in the game, and amongst 70 gamers on Raiola’s books.
The Norwegian joined Dortmund simply over a 12 months in the past, however has been linked with a big-money transfer this summer season, and the agent says a bunch of Premier League golf equipment may signal him.
“It’s apparent that everyone is taking a look at Erling as a type of potential new future stars as a result of it is so troublesome to do what he does at his age at his stage,” he stated.
“He might be one of many future stars of the subsequent decade as a result of we see that stars comparable to Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and Messi are coming to an age the place everybody asks themselves: ‘How lengthy can we nonetheless get pleasure from them?’ So everyone seems to be in search of the brand new era.
“Solely a most of 10 golf equipment can afford to purchase [Haaland] and provides the platform you prefer to after you have been in Dortmund… and 4 of these golf equipment are in [England].
“I do not suppose there is a sports activities director or coach on the earth who would say ‘not ‘. It is like saying: ‘Is there a Components 1 staff who wouldn’t be fascinated with having Lewis Hamilton?'”
Holding coy on Pogba
Raiola sparked a serious backlash in December when, simply earlier than a vital Champions League match for Manchester United, he recommended Pogba’s time at Previous Trafford could be over.
“I simply expressed an opinion, I did not wish to trigger any drawback,” Raiola stated.
“I do not suppose that it destabilised anyone, as a result of that they had a implausible run they usually have been even first, for a interval, within the league.
“You suppose large gamers like Paul Pogba – or [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer, who received the whole lot in his life – get destabilised by what Mino Raiola says? Come on, please. However I do not discuss it any extra. It makes life a bit bit boring, however it’s what it’s.”
The outspoken Raiola – who has additionally represented Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku, Italy ahead Mario Balotelli and Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, has had run-ins with a collection of different managers, together with Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, however says he has realized classes.
He stated: “At any time when I inform my opinion, everybody in England goes berserk, and I’m the worst agent, or one of the best agent…and the golf equipment get so harassed from the general public and journalists that I’ve realized to not discuss a lot about it.”
‘My job is to get one of the best deal’
Claims that Raiola earned £41m from Pogba’s world-record £89m transfer from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016 intensified criticism of brokers. However he insists the notion of greed and extra is unfair.
“It isn’t good at all times to listen to this identical preconception,” Raiola stated.
“However possibly the general public may also suppose: ‘If this man is so grasping and so unhealthy, how are his gamers all blissful and stick with him?’
“I’d be mendacity if I stated it did not hassle me…how are you going to choose if I used to be agent for Ibrahimovic? The one one who can choose that’s Ibra himself.
“I haven’t got energy and affect… my job is to get one of the best deal achieved for my participant. And not more than that. And doing that’s to offer him with an entire vary of providers that individuals do not even know.
“My gamers do not name me a parasite, and that is who I work for. I solely care what my gamers name me.”
Preventing Fifa over rules
Fifa is bringing in new regulations this year, which is able to see the publication of the cash brokers obtain from their purchasers, caps on commissions, a licensing system, and a clampdown on conflicts of curiosity.
Soccer’s world governing physique has stated that deregulating brokers in 2015 was “a mistake”, and it desires to deal with “abusive and extreme practices”.
Raiola – who’s president of the Soccer Discussion board, an organisation set as much as characterize the pursuits of main brokers and their gamers – is vehemently opposed.
“We’re not speaking to Fifa any extra,” he stated, criticising the extent to which brokers had been consulted on the brand new proposals.
“I feel on the finish, there might be a court docket case.
“I’ve no drawback with any transparency. There are governments that examine us fiscally, legally day by day.
“What we have now an issue with is the folks that do not know the way a switch works, making an attempt to make guidelines which are ridiculous.”
Raiola says the crackdown on brokers has been “utilized by Fifa to cover their very own issues”.
He stated: “Sure we have to change the soccer world, however we wish to be part of that, to be revered, as a result of our job is to characterize the gamers and their pursuits.
“We’re not saying we’re good, however it can’t be regulated by Fifa.
“No person seems on the curiosity of the participant on this. There’s solely an curiosity [in] saying: ‘Let’s assault the brokers as a result of they took an excessive amount of cash out of the sport.'”
In a press release, Fifa stated it had carried out “a really strong session course of” together with with brokers organisations.
The governing physique stated: “Fifa has noticed widespread conflicts of pursuits, and a market pushed by hypothesis somewhat than solidarity and redistribution throughout the soccer pyramid.
“Fifa has the duty to handle and regulate these issues. We’re aiming for a system of balanced and cheap regulation, as an alternative of the legislation of the jungle presently in place.”
Final season, Premier League golf equipment paid out greater than £263m to brokers.
Wage cap ‘victory’ and scrapping relegation
Raiola has been a fierce critic of the English Soccer League’s wage caps in Leagues One and Two, and praised the scrapping of them earlier this month following what he known as a “logical” determination by an impartial arbitration panel.
He stated: “There are not any wage caps for CEOs that run large or small corporations, there isn’t any wage caps for actors, there is not any wage cap for a Banksy!
“So why ought to there be a cap on expertise of soccer gamers?”
Raiola insists deep-rooted issues with soccer’s monetary sustainability pre-date the pandemic, and that radical concepts ought to now be thought of.
He stated: “I want to give golf equipment the chance [over] the subsequent three years, due to Covid, to possibly discover a system the place in some international locations [they] say, ‘Hear, you recognize what, let’s not relegate any extra’, to have a extra steady atmosphere to construct your reserves.
“In France, Spain, and Italy, it’s a actual monetary catastrophe should you go down. And that places golf equipment in a harassed place, the place possibly they can’t decide for the long run, however based mostly solely on the brief time period.”
“The entire system needs to be checked out.
“Within the Soccer Discussion board, we aren’t there to to kill golf equipment. We should always attempt to be extra trendy and to sit down down with all concerned events and to see the place is it that we may help one another.”