High-profile football agent Mino Raiola dies aged 54

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Football agent Mino Raiola has died, his family have announced.

Italian media reports on Thursday afternoon claimed the 54-year-old, who represented players like Paul Pogba, Erling Haaland and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, had died, but this was later denied on Raiola’s official Twitter account.

However, on Saturday afternoon a family statement published on Raiola’s Twitter feed announced his death, although no timeline or cause was given.

“In infinite sorrow we share the passing of the most caring and amazing football agent that ever was,” the Raiola family statement read.

“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. The Raiola Family.”

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Old Trafford
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was one of Raiola’s most high-profile clients (Martin Rickett/PA)

A tweet from the same account in January said Raiola had undergone medical checks requiring anaesthesia, but that he had not had emergency surgery.

Raiola was reportedly suffering from a lung condition not linked to Covid-19.

Born in Italy, Raiola grew up in Holland and first stepped into the world of football agency by working on the deal which took Dutch forward Bryan Roy to Italian club Foggia and then acted as an interpreter in Dennis Bergkamp’s move from Ajax to Inter Milan.

Czech star Pavel Nedved became Raiola’s first big-name client, and he steadily built his reputation in Italian and world football over the years since, and alongside Jorge Mendes was arguably the highest-profile football agent on the planet.

Some of Europe’s leading clubs paid tribute to Raiola.

Ibrahimovic’s club AC Milan said on Twitter: “Our deepest condolences to the Raiola family and all the friends of Mino for their tragic loss.”

Paris St Germain tweeted: “The club, through its President, sends its condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Marseille added: “We are saddened to learn of Mino Raiola’s death. Our thoughts and sincere condolences go to his family and friends.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer grew frustrated by Raiola generating speculation over Pogba's future at United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer grew frustrated by Raiola generating speculation over Pogba’s future at United (Mike Egerton/PA)

Raiola’s often outspoken approach did not always endear him to club managers, with former Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unhappy at what he saw as the Italian stirring up trouble over Pogba’s future.

It was reported in the ‘Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football’ book in 2017 that Raiola stood to earn up to £41million from Pogba’s £89million transfer from Juventus to United.

Raiola had criticised plans from FIFA to introduce caps on agents’ fees, which the global governing body says is part of an effort to curb the “excessive and abusive” sums leaving the game in the hands of player representatives.

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