Mino Raiola, the football ‘super agent’ whose extensive star-studded client list included the likes of Erling Haaland, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, has reportedly died.
Italian media reported on Thursday afternoon that the 54-year-old had passed away after an illness. However, the reports have not been confirmed by his family or agency.
Raiola was hospitalised in Milan in January and was reported then to have undergone “very delicate” surgery on an undisclosed issue at San Raffaele.
A message from his Twitter account at that time stated that he had not had major surgery, but merely underwent planned routine medical checks that required anesthesia.
German publication Bild had claimed in January that Raiola was in intensive care with a pulmonary condition.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Verratti, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Matthijs de Ligt and Mario Balotelli were just some of the other high-profile footballers to be represented by Raiola, who, along with the likes of Jorge Mendes, Pini Zahavi and Jonathan Barnett, was considered among the most powerful, wealthy and well-known agents in the sport.
Born in southern Italy but raised in the Netherlands, Raiola played in the youth team of HFC Haarlem as a youngster and later worked in his father’s pizzeria before claiming to have become a self-made millionaire as a businessman while still in his teens.
He then turned to football and rose to prominence by helping to broker Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp’s move from Ajax to Inter Milan in 1993.
Raiola later became the trusted and sometimes controversial agent of some of football’s biggest global stars, playing a central role in some of the sport’s most expensive deals including Paul Pogba’s then world-record £89million return to Manchester United from Juventus in 2016.