Mino Raiola was a titan in the world of football. Apart from his star-studded list of clients, Raiola was always there. Bickering with managers, spoke his mind unfiltered, and always looked out for his players.
That was the Raiola way. Therefore, his death was a profound event, and no one could be like him. After his passing, the reins are now in the hands of Rafaela Pimenta.
Though the name is new for fans, the Brazilian has been by Raiola’s side over the past many years. So, who is Rafaela Pimenta and how did she become the successor to Mino Raiola?
Who is Rafaela Pimenta?
Rafaela Pimenta is a Brazilian lawyer who served as Mino Raiola’s right-hand man for the past 18 years. She has studied law at the University of Sao Paulo, before serving in the government’s antitrust division under president former Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
However, it would be football that would draw Pimenta and Raiola together. In 1998, Rafaela Pimenta helped in setting up a Sao Paulo club called Guaratinguetà, alongside Brazilian legends Rivaldo and Cesar Sampaio. During its launch event, there was Raiola was among the guests who flew down from Europe.
The pair struck up an instant rapport, with Raiola inviting Pimenta to come work with him. Consequently, she moved to Monaco, where the super-agent’s One agency is based. The fact that Raiola allowed Pimenta to join the Monaco office spoke of the mutual trust they shared.
The other employees are extremely close with Raiola, which includes his cousin Vincenzo, who mostly deals with the Italian players. Pimenta would slowly learn the craft over the years, eventually becoming the power behind negotiations and deals for the clients.
Therefore, it is no surprise that she has been described as the “the toughest negotiator in football.” Very few people know of her, but that image was to change with the airing of a documentary series.
The successor to Mino Raiola
The release of Pogmentary was met with mixed reviews, as viewers got a major glimpse inside the life of Paul Pogba. Rafaela Pimenta was one of the major figures in the series, as the future of Pogba dominated conversations.
Pimenta and Raiola discussed the star’s first departure to Juventus in 2012, and the subsequent return. Pogba is evidently very close with Pimenta, with his children calling her “Auntie Rafa.” This was the first time that Pimenta had been in the limelight in such a global manner.
Moreover, Pimenta was also offered shares of One, and has been a partner at the firm for the past two decades. Therefore, it was no surprise that interest in her and who she is peaked after the documentary aired.
Given Raiola’s untimely death, Pimenta has taken the lead role in negotiating deals for the existing clients.
That has led to some incredible transfers, while many more are on the way over the coming years. Clubs know that the passing of Raiola has not made transfers easier for them, as Pimenta drives an extremely hard bargain.
The new transfer guru
As mentioned above, Pogba’s next club was the source of heavy speculation in Pogmentary. He eventually ended up returning to Juventus. However, that was not the only major deal concluded by Pimenta in the recent past.
Erling Haaland has joined Manchester City, with the agents and the player’s dad taking a big cut. Matthijs de Ligt signed for Bayern Munich, making him the third-most expensive defender ever. Before that, Ryan Gravenberch had already left Ajax for the Bavarian giants.
Alessio Romagnoli left 2021-22 Serie A winners AC Milan for Lazio, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic penned an extension. Moreover, there are a few players whose future are yet to be resolved as well.
Similarly, there have been a lot of other player movements too with less heralded names. There is no doubt that Rafaela Pimenta has been behind all of the deals, constantly looking out for her clients’ interests. The footballing world has a new female superpower, and she is one to watch out for.