5 players you might not know were managed by Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola
When the transfer window opens, two super agents, Mino Raiola and Jorge Mendes are the ones who stay busy by trying to get their clients the right deals. The former is a reputed super agent because he has close to 30 clients which include current and past footballers as well as managers.
He is the agent of some of the biggest players like Manchester United's latest duo of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, as well as Juventus' Paul Pogba. But here we talk about some of the other big name players you did not know are managed by Raiola:
#1 Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli burst onto the footballing world when he showed glimpses of excellence while playing for Inter Milan under manager Roberto Mancini in 2008. The former was only 17-years old and was expected to be one of the top players in the world given the talent he possessed. But his disciplinary record on and off the field led to his decline in subsequent years. Since then, the Italian has represented the likes of Manchester City, AC Milan and Liverpool. But his happy days have a taken a hit.
What might surprise many others is that Mino Raiola has been the striker’s agent since his Inter days. Raiola is not the one who listens to managers who dictate their terms. Hence he came up with a quirky statement that described Balotelli’s position currently, “I saw him on Monday and said...I’m not taking you away. Either you leave Liverpool for €60m or €70m and I win the bet or you die there.”
The statement came after Klopp’s public statement that Balotelli is not in his plans. Raiola had further said, “His (Balotelli’s) option now is Liverpool, and that is a great option.”
But reports in the English media have suggested that Raiola is looking for options outside England for his client. Dutch club Ajax and Italian club Napoli are both said to be in the race to sign the striker. However, under agent Raiola, Balotelli’s worth has seen a rapid decline.
He had cost Manchester City €21.8 million when they bought him from Inter Milan. But after two unsuccessful seasons in Manchester, the player was sold to AC Milan for a fee rumoured to be around €20 million plus bonuses and add-ons. After an impressive spell at Milan, he joined Liverpool in the summer of 2014 for what many considered a bargain at £15m.
He was judged as one of the worst signings that season by various pundits having scored a solitary goal in 19 appearances for the club and hence was shipped back out to AC Milan. Back in Italy, he made just 20 appearances and only scored one goal which led to him being kept out of the Italian national team for Euro 2016. It could be said that even though Raiola has taken the forward to a big club like Liverpool, he has also played a part in destroying a promising career.