You’ve probably already heard of him - if you haven’t, you really need to get updated with all of the latest transfers going on. Jorge Mendes is one of football’s most powerful men, whose uncanny ability to foresee - and now influence - some of the planet’s biggest transfer deals has made him bigger than many football clubs! He represents all of your favourite superstars (including Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, Angel Di Maria) and all of the ones you love to hate (Diego Costa, Pepe, anyone?). No transfer window is complete without Jorge Mendes engineering a big-money move for a big-money player to a big-money club - and that’s the ones you hear about. As the wheeling-and-dealing has already begun, there’s no way we’ll let go on without introducing you to the biggest one of them all. Everyone, meet Mr. Jorge Mendes, the billion-dollar transfer man!
Jorge Mendes – Biography:
Jorge Paulo Agostinho Mendes was born 7 January 1966, in Lisbon, Portugal. As the son of a Petrogal (Portugal’s biggest gas company) employee, he often played at their local grounds. His mother used to weave straw hats and baskets, which he would take to the Fonte da Telha beach and sell. Back then, he was known by his more modest nickname ‘Cabanas’; fitting for the young man who held cones at a Cornetto factory to ensure their ice cream didn’t fall off their cones. He initially started as a footballer (like many other agents), but he wasn’t destined for that. After being turned down by several Portuguese clubs in his early 20s, he gave up professional football - he was a left winger - and focused on running his video rental store to make a living. Mendes was also a DJ in his early days making money and developing his business knowledge. He rose and eventually opened up a restaurant, and then a bar - he didn’t know it then, but that was when his whole life was about to change.
In that bar (‘Luz Do Mar’) in Guimaraes one night in 1996, he bumped into professional goalkeeper Nuno Espirito Santo, who was then contracted to Vitoria De Guimaraes. Eventually, they got to know each other and he sealed his transfer to Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna, driving 300km and waiting every day to speak to its president. Predictably, that made some other players’ ears perk, and more and more began to join him. He started becoming an increasingly regular presence at youth teams and soccer schools in Portugal, looking out for the next big thing.
Sucess came in the form of another man’s fall-out - Portugal’s biggest agent at the time, Jose Veiga, had a major falling out with Porto’s president Pinto Da Costa. At the time, Mendes was looking after Costinha, Deco and other young stars. Veiga was the agent to people like Luis Figo and Nuno Gomes. One of the men that joined his books at the time was Hugo Viana, the Newcastle flop. He was the one who really kicked off his transnational agency career, as he brokered his €12 million move from Sporting CP to Newcastle United. Just months later, a certain Maria Dolores Aveiro ended her contract with Jose Veiga and signed with Jorge Mendes. Cristiano Ronaldo knows her better as ‘mother’ - and just a few months later, he switched from Sporting CP to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. That later proved to be just the biggest of his many, many coups, including managers, club chairmen and multiple player transfers to a single club. Today, he is unrivaled in the transfer market, winning the award for ‘world’s best agent’ from 2010 to 2015 – an incredible six consecutive times!
Jorge Mendes – Top 10 Biggest Deals
Jorge Mendes has already conducted over a $1.5 billion dollars in transfer deals, easily placing him at the very top of the football agency world. With several of his clients at all the top clubs (including Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona & Real Madrid), he’s literally everywhere. He has men in villages across the planet, watching out for skillful, energetic youths who have the potential to tear apart European football. Let’s take a look at his 10 biggest transfer moves:
|Fabio Coentrao||Benfica||Real Madrid||£26.4 million|
|Anderson||Porto||Manchester United||£27 million|
|Eliaquim Mangala||Porto||Manchester City||£32 million|
|Diego Costa||Atletico Madrid||Chelsea||£32 million|
|Sergio Aguero||Atletico Madrid||Manchester City||£38 million|
|James Rodriguez||Porto||Monaco||£38.5 million|
|Radamel Falcao||Atletico Madrid||Monaco||£52.8 million|
|Angel Di Maria||Real Madrid||Manchester United||£59.7 million|
|James Rodriguez||Monaco||Real Madrid||£71 million|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Manchester United||Real Madrid||£80 million|
Jorge Mendes – Controversy
With so many players on his books and so many glowing reviews, it’s inevitable that many players decide to join him. One of them was Nani, who’s previous agent Ana Almeida filed a complaint about the forward ending her contract with her just before a big-money move with Mendes. His infamous fisticuffs with Jose Veiga at a Lisbon airport were also over some rumours the latter was allegedly spreading about Mendes. Even Bebe’s agent complained about Mendes muscling in on his client in the middle of their contract before his infamous sale to Manchester United, where he didn’t even have a ghost of a career.
Jorge Mendes’ company Gestifute was cited as one of the players in a player consultancy ring that goes against the FIFA regulations about player interests and 3rd party ownership. Ex-Manchester United & Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon runs a company called Opto, which supposedly advises undeclared investors on which players to purchase ownership. Both operate out of tax havens like Jersey & Ireland, saving them millions.
The kicker here is that most of the players they advise these investors to purchase are players that they in turn represent. If that’s not clear, it’s kind of like a medical doctor advising patients to buy pharmaceuticals from a company they own - which can lead to some unsavoury scenarios. The day after the news was broken by the media, FIFA came out with a statement stating their intention to clamp down on 3rd party ownership. All parties denied any wrongdoing, but Sporting CP declared that most of the funds were only agreeing to buy the players if they renewed their contracts - which, you guessed it - would earn their agents another chance to sit at the negotiation table. *Wink*!
Jorge Mendes – What they say...
Diego Costa - on his first big Mendes meeting while serving a ban for violent conduct: “I don’t know why I was allowed to play that day. I don’t know if it was him or God, but I played... When the game was over, this person offered me a contract to play for Sporting Braga, and that’s how I came to Europe.”
Diego Costa - on his second big Mendes meeting one year later:"Jorge told me I had to get a flight to Madrid, I knew nothing of what was going on and when we arrived he told me I was signing for Atlético Madrid... We were in the house of Atlético sporting director Jesús García Pitcarch, and I didn’t even know who he was.”
Fabio Coentrao - on Mendes influence: “Without him right now I wouldn’t be a footballer, I’d be working in the sea.”
Cristiano Ronaldo - on Jorge Mendes: “Jorge’s greatest virtues are that he is honest, sincere and professional...Nobody works as much as he does...he’s number one without a doubt.”
Jorge Mendes – What he says...
Jorge Mendes - on Nani’s former agent: "There are people that have signed contracts with players and are there waiting for a Jorge Mendes to show up and take him to a big club. They want to be glued to the operation without ever having done anything to promote it."
Jorge Mendes - on his rise to the top: "Portugal is a small country, where people who do well are the target of envy, but you have to struggle against the tide."