Home » From Pimenta to Mendes up to Barnett, Struth and Otin: the five agents who command football

From Pimenta to Mendes up to Barnett, Struth and Otin: the five agents who command football

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From Pimenta to Mendes up to Barnett, Struth and Otin: the five agents who command football

In the biography of Mino Raiolapublished in 2018, Rafaela Pimenta she is never named. Yet four years later it was she, on Raiola’s precise instructions, who inherited the command position of the agency One Srl at the time of the death of one of the best known upon the manager of the world football scene. Pimenta worked in the shadows alongside Raiola for over twenty years, but once she found herself catapulted to center stage she kept the same low profile as always, embodying a change that already seems to be taking place in the world of prosecutors high profile. No more figures who take the limelight in the media, in a more or less overbearing way, but unknown characters to the general public, which one forgets immediately after seeing them together with one of their clients. People whose stories are not found on bookshop shelves, told by those directly involved (the aforementioned Raiola) or by others (the writer and sociologist Goofy Russo with the not at all hagiographic M. The orgy of power – Counter-story of Jorge Mendes, the master of global football).

Among the current big five in the world of football agents, only Mendes enjoys a global reputation, i.e. not limited to insiders or the local area in which it operates. The others, from Pimenta to Jonathan Barnettyes Volker Struth a José Otinare little known and even less recognizable, despite the economic wealth and position of candies generated by their profession. Mendes, as mentioned, remains the first on the list, fresh from yet another mega commission spawned by her goose that lays the golden eggs, Cristiano Ronaldoafter the handover to the Saudis ofAl Nasser. A masterpiece operation from a financial point of view, considering the pharaonic figures foreseen by the contract in relation to the evident decline in the field of the Portuguese champion. Still today Mendes embodies the concept of super prosecutor, as per the definition of the aforementioned Russo: “These are figures who, starting from the role of agents of players, progressively broaden their own range to become: agents of coaches, placers of sports directors us club, consultants of the clubs themselves in matters of transfer campaigns, representatives of external investors and finally business brokers between the world of football and big international finance […] It is the construction of a position that goes beyond the monopoly to become total control of the market”. In a single negotiation with a traditionally mensified club such as the Portoor with the sponsored Wolverhamptonthe purchase of which by the Chinese holding company Fosun it happened thanks to the intervention of Mendes, the Portuguese can be all of the above described at the same time.

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Since Raiola’s departure, Rafaela Pimenta has concluded 36 transfersincluding those of two big names such as Matthew de Ligt ed Erling Haaland. The site Transfer market currency in addition 700 million euros the player pool that she found herself managing, coming out of anonymity after almost twenty-five years as right-hand man of one of the most powerful prosecutors in the world. A law graduate, Pimenta held a professorship at theUniversity of Sao Paulo and was working for the Brazilian Competition and Market Authority when he came into contact with Raiola through Rivaldo, a Barcelona player at the time, and of which Pimenta was a consultant in one of his companies. It was the professional union between two marginal figures for the world of football, as recalled by the person directly concerned: “It is now accepted everywhere that a woman can discover the vaccine against the coronavirus or go to the moon, but it is not yet, in certain circles , that a woman takes care of football affairs; Mino, on the other hand, was the son of emigrants, his parents had a restaurant, and he did not have the contacts, nor the heritage, nor the role physics to be able to break through in this area. He self-taught, a woman with very little football knowledge, but full of interest in the development of this sport from a legal point of view. They should have torn us to pieces, but it didn’t go like this. We have learned to transform our apparent weaknesses into strengths. As far as I’m concerned, I learned to take by surprise, during negotiations, interlocutors who had underestimated me as not belonging to the male gender”.

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Jonathan Barnett’s first millionaire shot came from cricketwhen in the mid-nineties he signed the star player Brian Larawhich allowed him to meet David Mannasehhis partner in the Stellar Group, a company active on the market for 28 years now. Barnett is a sort of Midas king of English football and a demonstration of his skills came in recent times when he managed to set up and complete the sale of Jack Grealish al Manchester City for over 100 million euros, his second triple-digit hit after that of Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid. In 2020 Forbes has put him at the top of the ranking of the richest agents in the world, thanks to a business that in addition to football is also dedicated to the world of boxing and cricket. The most controversial episode of his long career dates back to 2006when he was banned for twelve months and sentenced to pay a fine of 100mila sterline for arranging a meeting between your client Ashley Coleunder contract to Arsenal at the time, and the Chelseadespite none of the Blues representatives – the manager Jose Mourinho and the managing director Peter Kenyon – had been authorized by the Gunners to deal with the England international. A behavior beyond the limits of which Barnett has never regretted: “I was Cole’s agent and, looking in hindsight at what the transition to Chelsea meant for his career in terms of successes and fame, it was the right choice”.

Finally Volker Struth and José Otin, who almost look like twins separated at birth due to their common style and approach to the profession, both characterized by the desire to appear as minimal as possible, leaving all the attention of the mediums to their clients. Struth operates primarily in Germaniawhere it has as its flagship customers Toni Kroos e Julian Nagelsman, and boasts a past in some ways similar to that of Mino Raiola, above all for coming from a family of low social class. He grew up in an underprivileged neighborhood of Colonia in a difficult context, between family crises and health problems, Struth is the classic self-made man capable of building a successful business, but without that feeling of revenge that can often lead to over the top attitudes. “For a sports agent – ​​he declared – the most important thing is not to stand out in public, but to do the best possible job for his clients. The profession of agent, often cloaked in a negative reputation, in reality does not follow different rules from other professional fields: there are excellent cooks and bad cooks, excellent doctors and bad doctors”. Equally shy and thoughtful is José Antonio Martín Otín “Petón”, very active in the Ligawhere through his company, the Bahia International, looks after the interests of more than 90% of its 300 million euro player base. Above all, Otín seems to be the incarnation of the mourinhana maxim “those who only know about football know nothing about football”, given that every (rare) interview with him becomes an excuse to talk about literaturesociety, poetry and Federico Garcia Lorca, his favorite author. In the past its top player was Fernando Torres.

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