Mino Raiola has defended the manner in which he goes about his business as one of the leading agents in world football, with the Italian pointing out he has “never sat with a gun on the table in negotiations.”
Raiola, who has Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Erling Haaland on his books, has faced criticism for forcing the hand of reluctant sellers and providing unwelcome distractions for clients.
He has no issue with his methods though, and claims to have only ever acted in the best interests of those that trust him to manage their playing careers.
How does Raiola defend his methods?
Raiola told Sport1: “I’m ready to go to war for my players. I am ready to do anything, as I would for my sons.
“The sporting directors hate me? How come? I’ve never sat with a gun on the table in negotiations. I just know very well what value my players have and what the clubs need.
“If they hate me, then it’s the biggest compliment for me. Then I’m doing something well. If they said, ‘It’s good that the Raiola advises the player, it’ll be easy for us,’ then I’d have a problem.”
He added: “I love arguments. I love it when I come up with a strategy and use it to overcome my counterpart.
“You’ll never see me in a suit and tie. That’s not me. I am fat and short. People underestimated me for a long time and said, ‘What does he look like? He can’t even get dressed properly’. That was my chance. Now everyone has respect for me.”
The bigger picture
There may be more arguments to come for Raiola, with Dortmund striker Haaland one of the most prized assets in world football.
The prolific Norwegian has been heavily linked with Real Madrid and Manchester United, with his representative already beginning the process of planning the upcoming transfer windows.
Raiola said: “We have clear ideas about where Erling should go and of course we look at what the market has to offer. I would be a bad adviser if I didn’t.
“We can influence the market with a player like Erl. We are not influenced by the market. We know this.
“I changed the transfer market with my players. We consultants have created a second game alongside football: calciomercato [Italian for transfer market]. Now we talk about a game two days a week and five days about transfers.
“Maybe the sports directors hate me. I don’t hate anyone myself. I just do my job.”