Mendes the deal-maker in Monaco charge

01 June 2013 12:46

French second division champions Monaco's recent multi-million euro splurge on a host of Europe's top footballing talent continues a recent trend of billionaire owners attempting to spend their way to success.

However, in the case of Monaco and their Russian owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, they have also used another common method of top clubs in recent years by recruiting a number of Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes' clients.

Almost certainly the most powerful representative in modern-day football, Mendes' client list reads like a who's who of the Portuguese and South American game.

And that list looked even more impressive on Friday when Colombia forward Radamel Falcao completed a presumed 60 million euro transfer to Monaco.

The Principality club had already snapped up several other members of the Mendes cast with Porto duo João Moutinho and James Rodríguez brought in for a combined 70 million euros ($90.6m, £59.9m) whilst Ricardo Carvalho joined on a free transfer.

A former semi-professional player himself, Mendes has built his empire from humble beginnings.

The 47-year-old had tried his hand in the less glamorous businesses of bars, nightclubs and even a video rental store before a chance encounter with the then Vitoria Guimaraes goalkeeper Nuno resulted in Mendes brokering his move to Deportivo la Coruna.

However, Mendes' big break came with the rise of Jose Mourinho's Porto side a decade ago.

Mourinho broke off his contract with old agent Jose Baidek to join Mendes, who negotiated the Portuguese's move to Chelsea after winning the Champions League with Porto in 2004.

A host of Mendes clients then joined Mourinho in London, including Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Tiago Mendes and Maniche.

Having described himself as "the world's best businessman" after receiving an agent of the year award in 2010, it is easy to understand why he and the self-proclaimed "special one" get along.

And their relationship has continued during Mourinho's time at Real Madrid as Carvalho swapped Chelsea for the Spanish capital, whilst Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria joined Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo as Mendes clients already in situ at Madrid.

However, Mendes' contact list goes far beyond Mourinho and is particularly significant in relation to Monaco's recent purchases.

Mendes' Gestifute agency is based in Porto and was also involved in the third-party ownership model which brought all of Moutinho, Rodriguez and Falcao to the Portuguese champions in the first place.

His contacts at Atleti are also strong with Adrian Lopez, Diego Costa and Tiago among his clients currently there, whilst he also represented David De Gea and Simao Sabrosa during their time with Los Rojiblancos.

Understandably, given his relationship with both clubs, it was Mendes' influence that proved key as Falcao surprisingly made the move from Porto to Atleti two years ago rather than moving to a side in the Champions League.

And Porto and Atleti's results over the past few years allow Mendes to convince clubs like Monaco that his model works.

Between them, both clubs have won three of the last four Europa League titles, whilst Porto recently wrapped up their ninth Portuguese title in 11 years and Atleti ended a 17-year wait to win the Copa del Rey.

Rybolovlev's plans to take Monaco back to the top very much depend on that Mendes model successfully transferring itself to the principality.

Source: AFP