After Mino Raiola’s death: Ibrahimovic lost “a friend, a brother, a father”

After the death of Mino Raiola
Ibrahimovic has lost a “friend, brother, father”

By Ben Rillings

Over the weekend, a player agent for several great soccer stars, Mino Raiola, passed away. “Mino is so much more than just a manager, he’s a friend, brother, father and everything,” Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic said before his death. A very special relationship with a tragic ending.

“I was the first to tell Zlatan he was an idiot.” Mino Raiola was a man of clear words. His credo: Players found it – never the other way around. That was how it was in Amsterdam then, when young Swedish talent Zlatan Ibrahimovic played for Ajax and made the football world sit up and take notice. Ibrahimović had told Raiola, who was born in southern Italy, through a friend of the welcome agent to contact him. But the son of a pizza baker responded as usual: either the Swede picked up the phone himself – or he could, as the wording at that time translated with greater skill, “discontent.”

Zlatan did, called Raiola. And from this the development of what Ibra describes in his current book “Adrenaline”: “He (Raiola) and my wife Helena are two of the most important people in my life and always will be.” One can only imagine how much this loss would affect Ibrahimovic in these sad days: “Mino is so much more than a manager, he’s a friend, brother, father, everything.”

Mino Raiola was the compass in the life of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Since they first met in Holland, the Italian, who immigrated to the Dutch city of Haarlem with his parents when he was just a year old, has not been responsible for the Swede’s athletic career. Because whoever took Raiola under his wing with a handshake contract soon knew he had more than just an agent at his side.

Solve thousands of problems

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, perhaps the greatest of the great Mino Raiola players, could always count on his coach: “He set the course of my career, my victories, pulled me out of the most difficult moments and solved thousands of problems for me.”

Ben Redlings

Ben Riddellings is a passionate “football mad historian” and supporter of the glorified VfL Bochum. The bestselling author and comedian lives in the Ruhr region and keeps the Legendary Tales Treasure Chest. For ntv.de he writes the most interesting and funniest stories on Mondays and Saturdays. More information about Ben Redelings, his current dates and his book with the best columns (“Between Puff and Barcelona”) is available on his website at www.scudetto.de.

Raiola always had a great idea, a meticulous plan for her pros. 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 this was not possible without clear announcements. In his first book “I am Zlatan,” the Swede reported how it sounded tangibly: “Raiola took four A4 sheets from his pocket, which he had typed out from the Internet, and on them were a huge number of names and numbers like Christian Vieri 27 games and 24 goals and Filippo Inzaghi 25 One game, 20 goals, David Trezeguet, 24 matches, 20 goals, and finally Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 25 matches, and 5 goals.

Raiola asked Ibra a question: “Do you want to be the best in the world or do you want to be the one who deserves more?” 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. Because your stats are bad.” And Zlatan? He gave his Porsche to Raiola and got to work. It was the start of a unique journey that took both teams into two great teams and great victories.

“We will never part”

But it wasn’t always sunshine and roses between the two. When Ibrahimovic felt too comfortable among the “palm trees and sandy beaches” during his time in Los Angeles, he feared his manager’s negotiating tactics: “Mino was too strong for the people there. He no longer plays in the MLS.” Seeing no other way out of this dilemma, Ibra made a huge mistake that Raiola had never forgiven. He kept his advisor out of the negotiations. When Raiola learned about it, he reacted very coldly: “You shouldn’t have done that, Zlatan, this is my job, I should have taken care of it.”

But this story may have been largely responsible for the fact that Ibrahimovic is still playing today – at the age of 40. Because after his time in the United States, Raiola asked the Swede to continue his career because of this. And Zlatan did so because he knew he had little chance against the will and skill of his manager: “When Mino thinks of something, no one stops him, and then he rolls forward like a tank. Moreover, he is very smart, he always knows what to say.”

“We can argue and insult each other, but we never part,” Zlatan Ibrahimovic once said of Mino Raiola. Now death tore the two apart. Zlatan Ibrahimovic not only lost his business manager, but also “a friend, brother and father”.

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