Who they are, what they think and how the owners of football live.
When the European stock market is at its height, a handful of men stare at their bank accounts knowing they will be more millionaires than they already are. It is not about the players but about the agents, representatives or businessmen who participate in the purchase-sale, the lobby or the simple “handling” of the interests of the players. And, as in every market, the same names appear, some popular, others of lower profile. Here, the 10 most powerful, the owners of football.
1) Pini Zahavi
At age 74 you will not have time to spend the money you raised. “I put players in touch with clubs and investors with clubs, that’s all. I gather people and they pay me my commission,” he told The Guardian a few years ago when he agreed to tell part of his story. It will charge 36 million euros of commission for managing the arrival of Neymar to PSG. He was a sports journalist and his contacts were useful when he decided to change the field, after the ’74 World Cup.
“My way of doing business was to move from one newspaper to another every four or five years, which allows you to get a better salary, I did not want to be a poor sports journalist any more!”
Neymar was a spying job that lasted almost a year, in sync with the ambitious father of playing. That an Israeli did business with Arabs, a subtlety worthy of a movie. The truth is that the Catharíes have in their French branch the jewel they wanted. Zahavi rose to fame in 2003 when he intermediated for Roman Abramovich to buy Chelsea. With the Argentineans Gustavo Arribas and Fernando Hidalgo, he founded the HAZ group, which participated in the sales of Mascherano and Tevez from River and Boca to Corinthians and then to West Ham. He took Rio Ferdinand from Leeds to Manchester United, was among the first to locate footballers in the Russian League, his name is recurring in Futbol Leaks and last year he bought the almost broken Mouscron of the second Belgian league, but as the laws do not Let him be a judge and part had to sell the club that served him to triangle. He sold it at 10 euros to his nephew.
2) Jorge Mendes
Portuguese. Bon vivant, playboy, the “George Clooney of the ball”. His fortune is incalculable but some names of his team say it all: Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, Diego Costa, Falcao, James Rodriguez and Di María. Watching the rosarino’s career is sniffing at Mendes’ wallet: Benfica, Real Madrid, Manchester United, PSG. No pass had its floor under 50 million dollars. His agency is called Gestifute and started in business casually. Mendes was the manager of a nightclub attended by several players. The goalkeeper Nuno, from Guimaraes, confessed that he wanted to go to Porto. And Mendes picked up the phone. It was the beginning. He took coach Queiroz to Madrid and, in partnership with Zahavi, Mourinho to Chelsea. The Globe Football Awards were created in 2010 and the Portuguese was designated as the best agent for six consecutive years.
3) Mino Raiola
He was born in Salerno, south of Naples, in 1967 but raised in the Dutch city of Haarlem, where his parents moved when he was 7 years old. He studied law, speaks seven languages and has a sharp tongue always wanted by journalists. He knows how to relate to the media, rogue, Carrmine, was delegate of the youth of the Haarlem and from there he jumped to the agency Sport Promotions until he became independent. It was him who brought Dutch players to Italy and his first big blow was that Denis Bergkamp played at Inter. The next, the pass of Pavel Nedved to Lazio and then to Juventus. Before Neymar’s operation to PSG, Raiola hung the medal of having the most expensive event in history: Paul Pogba of Juve to United, in 100 million. In its portfolio of clients has heavy names besides the French: Ibrahimovic, Lukaku, Matuidi, Mkhittrayan and in this market incorporated to Verratti.
4) Kia Joorabchian
He is one of the youngest. He was born in Teheran in 1971 but since he lives in London. It was an active part of the multiple transactions of Tevez and Mascherano. He found a scale to Europe in Corinthians, to which he had approached the MSI fund as manager. He was among the first to work in the Chinese market and MLS. He represents the Brazilians Oscar and David Luiz and several Inter and Chelsea players. Along with Zahavi had also intervened in the arrival of Abramovich to the club of London. He might not be able to teach you how to play craps but if you need a football player or two, he is your guy.
5) Pere Guardiola
Yes, it is Pep’s brother. He is agent of Luis Suárez, Andrés Iniesta and Thiago Alcántara and owner of 55% of Media Base with the signature Pereguirdis SL. The other 45% is in the hands of media company Mediapro. The Spanish branch is in the name of Luis Orobitig, brother of Jose Maria, in turn agent of his brother Pep. Media Base, in partnership with the emirate fund owner of Manchester City is negotiating the purchase of newly promoted Girona.
6) José Otín
He was born in Huesca, is a fan of Atlético de Madrid and represents a hundred Spanish footballers. Among them the majority of those who play in the Premier: Jesus Navas, Monreal, Pedro, and it was who took Fernando Torres to British football. He was a radio commentator COPE until 2001 when he decided to dedicate himself to the representation of players and founded Bahía International. As a declared believer, in a report asked if there was a relationship between faith and football.
Otin replied “honestly, I do not believe in that.” He added that “we should ask Jorge Bergoglio that he is Pope and he is a fan of a club called San Lorenzo”.
7) Cassey Wasserman
Born 43 years ago in Los Angeles and came to British football after a long career in the United States. Philanthropist, she participated in the campaign committee of Hillary Clinton and has been in football since 2006 when she bought the English representation agency SFX. From there he handled Steven Gerrard, Owen, Woodgate, Wes Brown, Tim Cahill, among others.
8) Peter Kenyon
An eagle. He was chief executive of Manchester United for much of the club’s heyday with the technical lead of Alex Ferguson. He was then recruited by Abramovich to manage Chelsea, until he left the clubs to partner with Mendes and be the “British leg” of Portuguese business. Two years ago, Deloitte assured that Kenyon was “the great responsible” that Athletic of Madrid enjoyed financial health. It is that Kenyon is an adviser to the Atleti, supported the sponsorship of China Wanda, the sale of the Calderón and the construction of La Peineta and support “at any cost” to Diego Simeone. He was also active in the pass movement: he took Torres to Chelsea and brought Agüero, whom he later took to the City and replaced him with Falcao, whom he replaced with Diego Costa and the latter with Griezmann …
9) Jonathan Barnett
Chairman of Stellar Group. The English press calls it “Super agent”. One of his first major operations was to lead side Arsenal Cole to Chelsea. It represents around 500 players. The number one on his list is a certain Gareth Bale.
10) Paul Stretford
One of the most extensive trajectory. He is the agent of Wayne Rooney, who took from Everton to United, a transfer that was objected by the federation because it was “loose of papers”. Now he has just returned to Everton. He is 59, in 1987 founded Sports Management, which he renamed Formation Group in 2004 and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. His first business was to bring Irish striker Frank Stapleton to Manchester United. At United. Along with Andrew Cole and Stan Collymore, had founded a kind of former club of players.