Sir Alex Ferguson and Mino Raiola had "nasty" meeting before ‘best fun ever’
Mino Raiola’s first-ever meeting with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was so tense that it turned “nasty” according to the super agent.
Raiola, whopassed awayon Saturday aged 54, was one of football’s biggest characters, having represented the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mario Balotelli and Erling Haaland in his role as an agent. But it was his work with Paul Pogba which brought him into conflict with Ferguson.
Raiola spotted Pogba’s potential at an early age, when he was still playing in United’s academy and was the man behind the French midfielder’s contentious move from Old Trafford to Juventus in 2012. Ferguson was furious with Raiola for instigating his client’s transfer to Italy and has made clear his dislike of the agent since retiring in 2013.
Writing in his autobiography, Ferguson admitted: “There are one or two football agents I simply do not like, and Mino Raiola is one of them.” However, Raiola’s take on the relationship between the two is different.
“It was never an issue,” Raiola told theDaily Mailin 2016. “Moving in 2012 was a necessary step because Paul wouldn’t have progressed the way he did otherwise.
“I had two meetings with Mr Ferguson. The first was nasty on his part but the second, I’d never had so much fun in my life! Mr Ferguson is entitled to his opinion and, though I don’t have to agree with it, I have a great deal of respect for him.
“He is an iconic manager but I still believe the value of Paul today confirms I was right to do what I did. We had different ideas of where Paul was. Maybe it's just as well he didn't like me because then he would have slapped me.”
Ferguson’s autobiography is not the only source which shows his annoyance with Raiola, who later brought Pogba back to United in a world record £89m transfer in 2016. In 2017, when giving a speech to Sale Sharks rugby club, Ferguson was asked about why United let Pogba go five years earlier.
Bluntly, he replied: “Paul Pogba? He had a bad agent. A s***bag. Paul Pogba was well known to us. We knew he was a good player. He's still a good player. We offered him the best contract.”
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