After the death of Mino Raiola
Ibrahimovic lost “friend, brother, father”
By Ben Redelings
May 2, 2022, at 19.21
Over the weekend, the player agent for many big football stars, Mino Raiola, died. Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic said before his death: “Mino is much more than a manager, he is a friend, a brother, a father, everything.” A very special relationship with a tragic ending.
“I was the first to tell Zlatan he was an asshole.” Mino Raiola was a man of clear words. His credo: The players found him – never the other way around. This is how it was then in Amsterdam, when the young Swedish talent Zlatan Ibrahimovic played for Ajax and made the football world sit up and notice. Ibrahimovic had informed Raiola, who was born in southern Italy, through a friend that the agent was welcome to contact him. But the son of a pizza baker reacted as usual: Either the Swede himself would pick up the phone – or he could, as the wording was translated more subtly at the time, “piss off”.
So did Zlatan, he called Raiola. And from that developed what Ibra describes in his current book “Adrenaline”: “He (Raiola) and my wife Helena are among the most important people in my life and will always be.” One can only imagine how much this loss affects Ibrahimovic in these sad days: “Mino is much more than a manager, he is a friend, a brother, a father, everything.”
Mino Raiola was the compass of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s life. Since they first met back in the Netherlands, the Italian who emigrated to the Dutch city of Haarlem with his parents when he was just one year old has not only been responsible for the Swede’s sports career. For whoever Raiola took under his wings with a handshake contract quickly knew he had more than just a player agent by his side.
“Solved thousands of issues”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was probably the greatest of all Mino Raiola’s great players, could always count on his manager: “He set the course for my career, my triumphs, he pulled me out of the most difficult moments and solved thousands of problems for me.”
Ben Redelings is a passionate “chronicler of football madness” and a supporter of the glorious VfL Bochum. The bestselling author and comedian lives in the Ruhr area and maintains his legendary anecdotal treasure. For ntv.de, he writes down the most exciting and funny stories on Monday and Saturday. More information about Ben Redelings, his current dates and his book with the best columns (“Between Puff and Barcelona”) is available on his website www.scudetto.de.
Raiola always had a brilliant idea, a precise plan for his professionals. He knew where they belonged – and how to get them there. However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had to learn from his first stop in the Netherlands that it was not possible without clear announcements. In his first book “I am Zlatan”, the Swede told how this looked in concrete terms: “Raiola took four A4 sheets out of his pocket, which he had printed from the Internet, and on them were a lot of names. , for example Christian Vieri, 27 games, 24 goals. Filippo Inzaghi, 25 games, 20 goals. David Trezeguet, 24 games, 20 goals, and finally Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 25 games, 5 goals. ”
Raiola asked Ibra a question: “Do you want to be the best in the world or the one who deserves the most?” When Zlatan replied, “The best in the world,” the Italian replied bluntly, “You should sell your cars. You should sell your watches and start training three times as hard. Because your stats stink.” And Zlatan? He gave his Porsche to Raiola and started working. It was the start of a unique journey that has brought the two to great clubs and amazing triumphs.
“We never look up”
But it was not always sunshine and roses between the two. When Ibrahimovic felt very comfortable between “palm trees and sandy beaches” during his time in Los Angeles, he feared his manager’s negotiation tactics: “Mino was too strong for the people there. He would have swept them away, ruined everything, and I would have had no longer played in MLS. ” Because he saw no other way out of the dilemma, Ibra made a big mistake that Raiola never forgave him. He kept his adviser out of the negotiations. When Raiola found out, he reacted extremely coldly: “You should not have done that, Zlatan, it’s my job, I should have taken care of it.”
But this story was probably largely to blame for Ibrahimovic still playing today – at the age of over forty. For after his time in the United States, Raiola demanded of the Swede that he had to continue his career because of this case. And Zlatan did it because he knew he had a small chance against his manager’s will and skill: “When Mino sets his mind on something, no one stops him, he rolls forward like a tank. Besides, he’s too clever, he always knows. what to say. ”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic once said of Mino Raiola: “We can quarrel, insult each other, but we never divorce.” Now death has split the two apart. Zlatan Ibrahimovic lost not only his manager but also a “friend, brother and father”.