Power behind the throne in world soccer
01 February 2013 | FAHRAAZ PATEL
Tom Cruise’s role in the film Jerry Maguire and the character of Ari Gold in the series Entourage in Hollywood culture give us a hint to how agents pursue goals to make sure their clients are satisfied.
And in football, you don’t need to look further than the Portuguese super-agent, Jorge Mendes. During this year’s Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai, every top honour dished out was linked to Mendes.
His clients Radamel Falcao and Jose Mourinho won Player-of- the-Year and Coach-of-the-Year respectively and Mendes won Agent-of-the-Year for a third straight year.
His story of being a semi-professional footballer turned nightclub owner and finally becoming the world’s most powerful agent is one which may fit perfectly into a fairytale.
But Mendes is a man who persevered and now represents over 70% of Latin – 95 % of them being Portuguese-speaking – players across the globe.
A huge percentage you may say and you only need to look at Madrid to know how much influence he has in Spain where Mendes might consider the Spanish capital as being his own.
At Atletico Madrid, Mendes represents three of the most important players at the club in Falcao, Tiago and Diego Costa.
Those who have followed the Falcao transfer saga are familiar with the insane price tag slapped on him by Atletico.
But should he go, Mendes instead of the club’s sporting director Jose Luis Caminero holds the trump card to a possible £53-million move wherever.
But it’s across town that one needs to see just how much power Mendes really has.
The Portuguese represents five players at Real Madrid with four of them being his countrymen.
Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Angel di Maria, Ricardo Carvalho and of course the big fish Cristiano Ronaldo are the names associated with Mendes and let’s not forget Real coach Mourinho.
It’s unheard of that a single agent can hold such a huge portfolio of clients in any sport let alone football.
And it does become a concern from a president or owner and a sporting director’s viewpoint when an agent has so much power.
Let’s take a look at two simple examples of Mendes’ power at Real.
At most clubs, should there be a contractual issue, the coach and general manager would sit down and discuss personal matters.
But at Real, there’s no general manager after Jorge Valdano – a man Mourinho never saw eye-to-eye with – departed Madrid in 2011.
The general manager in most cases would get his way, but with Valdano not being around, Mendes can pull the strings for a new deal and give Mourinho the advantage of extending his stay, should he desire to do so when his contract runs out in 2016.
Ronaldo has expressed his interest in a new deal to go beyond his existing contract – which ends in 2015.
Again, the general manager, this time along with the CEO of the club, would discuss a matter like this but again there’s no Valdano here, so who holds the key and final say for a contract extension?
I guess we know the answer to that.
Some may ask does Mendes have a rival in the football agency world?
Mino Raiola – the agent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli – maybe one name that comes to mind, but even Raiola can’t come close to the power and prestige Mendes wields.
With Mendes, it’s not only about quantity but also about quality and the value of each of his players bears testament to that.
His top-10 players command a market value totaled at £318-million and no agent in the world – with their top-10 marketable players – can challenge Mendes and his clients.
Such is the status of Mendes as a super agent that there seems no limit to what the Portuguese might do in the future because he is a man who is willing to take risks.
He has flown the flag of Portugal high and has done it with honour, making sure his countrymen and many Portuguese-speaking clients get the best deals.
Mendes rose to the top because he is good at what he does and through the existing laissez-faire regulations in football, he enjoys such a huge influence in the game.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN
looklocal Pretoria Moot
looklocal Pretoria East
looklocal Randfontein Westonaria
looklocal Rosebank Killarney
looklocal Eastern Highveld