Rival agents attempted to poach Mino Raiola’s players on the day he died, Brazilian lawyer Rafaela Pimenta has claimed.
Raiola died in April following an illness and Pimenta, who now runs his player agency which looks after stars like Erling Haaland and Paul Pogba, has detailed how rivals saw his death as an opportunity to take some of his big-name clients.
While saying that she had received lots of support from figures such as Jonathan Barnett, Gareth Bale‘s agent, she added that ‘lowlifes’ tried to capitalise on his sudden death.
‘There are also a bunch of lowlifes who called the players,’ Pimenta told the Telegraph.
‘Thousands’ of calls were made by other agents to poach Erling Haaland (left) and Paul Pogba (right) after Mino Raiola’s death, according to Rafaela Pimenta, who now leads the agency
Raiola, one of the most prominent agents in the world, died back in April following an illness
Pimenta has now described how ‘lowlifes’ called up players in his stable to try and recruit them
Matthijs de Ligt
Stefan de Vrij
‘One called (Walter) Benítez the day that Mino died. And Wanda, his wife, picked up and she gave him such a tongue-lashing and said, “You should be ashamed of yourself.”
‘Before Mino died they called Alphonse (Areola). Thousands of people called Xavi (Simons), thousands of people called Erling (Haaland), thousands of people called Paul (Pogba).
‘They called me also and said: “If you need help I can run the business for you.”‘
Players were totally rocked by news of Raiola’s death.
Haaland branded his former agent ‘the best’, while Juventus president Andrea Agnelli wrote his own unique tribute, telling Raiola to not ‘take the p*** in paradise’.
Pogba also paid his respects after changing his profile picture on Instagram to one of him with the representative, and saying: ‘Always in my heart. Thank you Mimi.’
But there was never any chance Pimenta was going to allow their stable of stars to be raided in a time of grieving.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ryan Gravenberch, Matthijs de Ligt, Mario Balotelli, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Verratti and Gianluigi Donnarumma are other high-profile names in the Raiola stable.
In a wide-ranging two-hour interview, Pimenta, 49, discussed the discrimination she has faced as a woman and how she is ruthless when it comes to landing players the best deals.
Pimenta, who was previously happy to operate in the background with Raiola, who died at the age of 54, doing the talking in the press, played a central role in negotiating Haaland’s move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City.
Haaland labelled Raiola ‘the best’ when paying his respects to the influential representative
Alerts during those negotiations that Raiola had died – they emerged in Italy but turned out to be fake – interrupted negotiations before he passed away three days later.
Pimenta and her team were then battling to avoid ‘lowlifes’ poaching players amid uncertainty following Raiola’s death.
‘I was maybe going through something that should put my life on hold but the players, of course they loved Mino, but they need to be taken care of,’ she added.
Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have both benefitted from the agent’s negotiating skills
‘I had [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Walter] Benítez and [Alphonse] Areola who needed to renew or change club. The only way I can appreciate their care, their love, their loyalty is if I give them everything. I could not go home and cry.’
Haaland and Pogba both made moves in the summer, with Haaland heading to Man City and Pogba returning to Juventus after his Manchester United contract expired.
The other player at the centre of ‘thousands’ of calls was 19-year-old sensation Simons, who made a surprise permanent switch to PSV Eindhoven from Paris Saint-Germain in June.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group