Raiola, Mendes and the most powerful agents in football
Goal takes a look at the men who control the lives of the best players in the world, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The most powerful football agents are almost as recognisable as the players in modern football. The top representatives play lead roles in the mega-money moves across the globe and pocket millions of pounds as a result.
While they remain a pain for clubs unhappy at being bled financially dry, they’re integral to making players’ lives as comfortable – and lucrative – as possible. Anyone who’s played New Star Soccer will be aware how important an agent is to broker any deal.
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But who are the most powerful agents in football? Goal takes a look at the contenders…
With Cristiano Ronaldo comes fame, and the Real Madrid star’s representative has certainly enjoyed that.
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But the Portugal captain isn’t the only phenomena on his books. As well as Ronaldo, there’s Chelsea striker Diego Costa, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, renowned manager Jose Mourinho, PSG attacker Angel Di Maria, Colombian star James Rodriguez and Bayern youngster Renato Sanches.
Raiola has become one of the most recognisable faces in football following the world-record transfer of Paul Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United, of which the super-agent pocketed a hefty fee reported to be €27 million.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Blaise Matuidi and Mario Balotelli are also on Raiola’s books.
Jean-Pierre Bernes is an agent with a strong presence among the best talents in France.
In addition to Bleus legends like Zinedine Zidane, Laurent Blanc and Eric Cantona, Bernes has under his wing Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu and Sevilla’s Samir Nasri. Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann are two French stars who once were his but chose to change agents as their careers progressed.
Jonathan Barnett, head of Stellar Group, was behind the then-record-breaking transfer of Gareth Bale from Tottenham to Real Madrid.
In addition to Bale on his roster, there’s Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw, Torino goalkeeper Joe Hart and Sporting star Adrien Silva.
It’s easy to think of agents as individuals, but sometimes players are represented by multiple people as part of a powerful company.
Mondial Promotions are an agency with a large contingent of top-level footballers including Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho, Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa, Chelsea midfield rock N’Golo Kante, Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and wantaway West Ham star Dimitri Payet.
Wagner Ribeiro is a super-agent from South America who holds in his hands the brightest player in Brazilian football: Neymar.
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As well as the Barcelona star, Ribeiro is the agent of Lucas Moura and Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa.
Turkish super-agent Ahmet Bulut represents the likes of Gokhan Tore, Emre Belozoglu, Arda Turan and Ozan Tufan. He’s the man to go to if you want doors opened in Turkey.
The charismatic businessman has been involved in some of the recent big-money Chinese Super League transfers, including Carlos Tevez’s switch to Shanghai Shenhua, and brokered David Luiz’s move to Chelsea on transfer deadline day in the summer.
Struth’s firm SportsTotal has boasted some big-name clients over the years and currently hold the likes of Toni Kroos, Marco Reus and Benedikt Howedes.
They also represented Mario Gotze, too, although that partnership was ended some time ago.
Otin is the face of Bahia Internacional and is the man to go to if you want to pluck a player from La Liga.
He represents the likes of Fernando Torres, Pedro, Jesus Navas, Javi Martinez, and also has some influence in the Asian market.
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