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Sports News of Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Source: Ghana Sports Online

Famous football agent Mino Raiola sets sight on managing Ghanaian player


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Mino Raiola is the man behind world football’s biggest transfer deals and is currently in charge of Manchester United star Paul Pogba as well as Norwegian goal-scoring sensation Erling Haaland.

The 52-year-old rude talking super-agent currently has over 60 world-class players on his super player list and this includes only Ghanaian player.

Derrick Luckassen is a former Dutch U21 international centre-back who is on the verge of completing his nationality switch to play for Ghana – country of his parents, is the only Ghanaian player who is on Raiola’s growing stable.

Luckassen, 24, is on the books of Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and currently playing on loan at Belgian side Royal Anderlecht. Anderlecht could exercise an option to purchase him permanently as per a clause inserted in the player’s contract.

The 1.86 m defender blossomed at PSV and moved on loan to Germany to join Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga where injuries complicated his season.

Raiola, who also has Mario Balotelli on his list of super stars, is a man noted for a huge appetite for food, hard cash and rude behaviour.

Luckassen has a current transfermarkt value of about €3.00m and he could seal a permanent deal at Anderlecht which would bring him some stability and focus in his current.

Raiola was Italian born, but moved to Haarlem, Holland with his mum and dad before he was 12 months old. He grew up and worked in the Italian eatery ‘Napoli’ while enrolling in law school.

But football was his first love – along with table tennis – and when he resigned as a board member of FC Harleem in protest at the committee being ‘too conservative’, Raiola set about becoming an agent.

He never looked back, joining ‘Sports Promotions’ to work on deals involving the likes of Bryan Roy, Wim Jonk and a certain Dennis Bergkamp.

He got his first big break while working as a translator in the transfer of Bergkamp to Inter Milan in 1993, when it is claimed he copied important documents, read them then absorbed the information so he could do deals like this one in the future.

He had the taste for success and set-up on his own, with his first major deal seeing Pavel Nedved join Lazio from Sparta Prague.

But it was his link-up with Dutch giants Ajax that set him on the road to fame and fortune.

In 2003 he met Zlatan Ibrahimovic in an Amsterdam restaurant. Looking dishevelled and unclean, Raiola ordered enough food to feed five people and proceeded to demolish the whole lot in front of the stunned Swede.

But somehow Ibrahimovic admired how Raiola didn’t seem to care what people thought of him and did things in his own inimitable way.

A friendship was spawned that would change both their lives. Ibrahimovic was Raiola’s golden ticket to the big-time, someone who let him drive round the streets of Amsterdam in his Porsche while his fixer plotted his multi-million pound move to Juventus.

Ibrahimovic had more big moves, to both Milan clubs, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and now United.

Raiola was a made man. He bought a luxury apartment in Monaco and still lives on the French Riviera.

But while his bank balance changed his attitude and arrogance didn’t and he gained enemies as fast as he gained high-profile clients.

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