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High-profile football agent Raiola dies aged 54

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Football agent Mino Raiola has died, his family announced on Saturday.

Italian media reports on Thursday had claimed the 54-year-old, who represented players such as Paul Pogba, Erling Haaland and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, had died.

But this was later denied on Raiola’s official Twitter account.

However, on Saturday a family statement published on Raiola’s Twitter feed announced he had died, although no timeline or cause of death was given.

“In infinite sorrow we share the passing of the most caring and amazing football agent that ever was,” the Raiola family statement read.

“Mino fought until the end with the same strength he put on negotiation tables to defend our players. As usual, Mino made us proud and never realised it.

“Mino touched so many lives through his work and wrote a new chapter in the history of modern football. His presence will forever be missed.

“Mino’s mission of making football a better place for players will continue with the same passion.

“We thank everybody for the huge amount of support received during these difficult times and ask for respect to the privacy of family and friends in this moment of grief. The Raiola Family.”

A tweet from the same account in January said Raiola had undergone medical checks requiring anaesthesia, but that he had not had emergency surgery.

Raiola was reportedly suffering from a lung condition not linked to COVID-19.

Born in Italy, Raiola grew up in the Netherlands.

He first stepped into the world of football agency by working on the deal which took Dutch forward Bryan Roy to Italian club Foggia.

Raiola then acted as an interpreter in Dennis Bergkamp’s move from Ajax to Inter Milan.

Czech star Pavel Nedved became Raiola’s first big-name client, and he steadily built his reputation in Italian and world football over the years since.

Alongside Jorge Mendes, he was arguably the highest-profile football agent on the planet.

Raiola’s often outspoken approach had, though, not always endeared him to club managers.

Former Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unhappy at what he saw as the Italian stirring up trouble over Pogba’s future.

It was reported in 2017 that Raiola stood to earn up to 41 million pounds (52 million dollars) from Pogba’s 89 million pounds transfer from Juventus to Manchester United.

That was in the “Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football” book.

Raiola had criticised plans from FIFA to introduce caps on agents’ fees.

The global governing body had said it was part of an effort to curb the “excessive and abusive” sums leaving the game in the hands of player representatives.

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