Mino Raiola, one of the most influential agents in football who represented the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Erling Haaland, has died aged 54.
A statement shared by Raiola’s family on his Twitter account read: “In infinite sorrow we share the passing of the most caring and amazing football agent that ever was.
“Mino fought until the end with the same strength he put on negotiation tables to defend our players. As usual, Mino made us proud and never realised it.
“Mino touched so many lives through his work and wrote a new chapter in the history of modern football. His presence will forever be missed. Mino’s mission of making football a better place for players will continue with the same passion.
“We thank everybody for the huge amount of support received during these difficult times and ask for respect to the privacy of family and friends in this moment of grief.”
Raiola’s account tweeted in January to say he was undergoing “ordinary” medical checks and that he had not required “emergency intervention”.
The confirmation from Raiola’s family came two days after incorrect reports of his death spread. Alberto Zangrillo, head of the anaesthesia and intensive care unit of San Raffaele hospital in Milan, where Raiola was being treated, said: “I am outraged by the phone calls from pseudo-journalists who speculate on the life of a man who is fighting.”
Raiola rose to prominence in the Netherlands and Italy in the 1990s and was involved in the deals that saw Dennis Bergkamp and Pavel Nedved move to Serie A.
More recently, Raiola helped to broker Paul Pogba’s then-world record transfer to Manchester United from Juventus, as well as Erling Haaland’s move from Red Bull Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund.
Raiola’s rise from pizzeria worker to super-agent
Perhaps the name of Roderick Turpijn means little to you. He was a Dutch footballer who made a handful of appearances for Ajax in the 1990s before moving on to De Graafschap and drifting out of the professional game by his mid-twenties.
No matter. That one transfer had already set him up for life.
Turpijn revealed as much in his own account of the deal. In an extraordinary act of brinkmanship, his agent had walked out on negotiations with De Graafschap – then, as now, an unremarkable Dutch team. He demanded they match Turpijn’s salary at Ajax.
Surprisingly, the club agreed, even throwing in bonuses. Impressive work even before you find out that the figure his agent claimed Turpijn was earning at Ajax was pure fantasy.
That agent was Mino Raiola.