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The Business of being Zlatan Ibrahimovic
When talking about the business of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, there is no way of getting around his agent. At the beginning of his career, Zlatan still did without the help of a consultant. Malmö's sports director Hasse Borg took him under his wing - and advised him against using an agent. Not without personal motives. When an offer from Ajax arrived in Amsterdam, he first negotiated Zlatan's salary in the Netherlands. Only when Zlatan happily agreed to a monthly salary of 20,000 euros and a Mercedes company car, did Borg turn to the Ajax bosses and got the highest transfer sum in the history of Swedish football for his club. When Zlatan found out how far below value he had sold himself, something broke inside him. In Hasse Borg he had seen a father figure until then.
When he was looking for a new consultant, a befriended journalist suggested two alternatives. "This agency where David Beckham is." Or "this Italian guy. Everyone says he's a mafio so." Zlatan didn't hesitate and arranged a meeting with the controversial Mino Raiola. The two immediately hit it off. Like Zlatan, Raiola likes the bulldozer strategy to get his way.
In 2006, telephone calls between a Juve manager and Raiola became public, making it clear how Raiola forced Zlatan's transfer from Amsterdam to Juventus. First he made Zlatan boycott the Ajax training session. He then bullied the Amsterdam officials by letting them wait for two hours for a meeting, just to enforce his point. "Don't worry, we'll take him to Turin.
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