Mino Raiola, a football agent, died on Saturday, his family reported. According to Italian media sources, the 54-year-old, who represented stars such as Paul Pogba, Erling Haaland, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, died on Thursday.
However, Raiola’s official Twitter account later disputed this.
However, a family statement posted on Raiola’s Twitter page on Saturday confirmed his death, albeit no date or cause of death was revealed.
“We mourn the loss of the most kind and outstanding football agent that ever lived,” the Raiola family statement stated.
“Mino battled to the last end with the same zeal with which he defended our players at the negotiating tables. Mino, as always, made us proud without realising it. Mino’s efforts impacted countless lives and penned a new chapter in the history of contemporary football. His absence will be felt in perpetuity.
“Mino’s aim to improve football as a place for players will be pursued with the same zeal.
“We would like to express our gratitude for the outpouring of support received during these trying times and ask for respect for the privacy of family and friends during this time of bereavement. The Raiola Clan.”
In January, the same account tweeted that Raiola had had medical examinations needing anaesthetic but had not undergone emergency surgery.
Raiola apparently has a lung ailment unrelated to COVID-19.
Raiola was born in Italy and grew up in the Netherlands.
He made his first foray into the world of football agency when he assisted with the transfer of Dutch attacker Bryan Roy to Italian team Foggia.
Raiola then functioned as an interpreter for Dennis Bergkamp’s Ajax-Inter Milan transfer.
Pavel Nedved of the Czech Republic was Raiola’s first high-profile client, and he has slowly established his reputation in Italian and international football in the years afterwards.
Along with Jorge Mendes, he was perhaps the world’s most prominent football agent.
Raiola’s frequently outspoken style, however, did not always endear him to club management.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the former Manchester United manager, was furious with what he regarded as the Italian stirring up controversy about Pogba’s future.
Raiola stood to make up to 41 million pounds (52 million dollars) from Pogba’s 89 million pound sale from Juventus to Manchester United, it was alleged in 2017.
That information was contained in the book “Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football.”
Raiola had previously criticised FIFA’s proposal to restrict agent fees.
The worldwide governing body stated that the move was part of an effort to rein down “excessive and abusive” payments paid to player agents.