THE BALL – “Who is Jorge Mendes? I don’t give a fuck about him, I’m number 1 by Forbes” (Market)

Jonathan Barnett, 72, Executive Chairman of ICM Stellar Sports, which is recognized as the world’s largest football player agency, spoke to A BOLA and A BOLA TV, in Porto, involved in the opening of the company’s office in the city – plus one in a dense international map that goes from Reykjavik to Seoul, passing through New York and Montevideo and the headquarters in London -, which arises from a specific orientation to attack the national market and attract the youngest promises, which can represent a resounding added value in the future.

Sometimes telegraphic, sometimes ironic… and always humorous. Barnett, leader of the ruling business triad with Mendes and Mino Raiola, now deceased, explained his thoughtful and ambitious move to Portugal. “It’s an honor to be here, in a country with so many traditions and so many great players. They are well represented but we are here to stay, we aim to reach them,” Jonathan Barnett said in a brief presentation. in Porto, before the interview.

“For us, Portuguese football has always been a big market, where great players have their place. It is very important for us, as the most important company in the world, to watch over young people, to grasp them and take care of them, from the age of 18 or 19. Stellar is growing every year and it’s time to grow here”, traces the agent, with 44 players represented here, still young and unknown, with the exception of Benfica player Tiago Gouveia, in addition to experienced José Fonte and Rui Fonte.

“Portuguese players bring together a lot of talent but are very adaptable, they play in any league. The gyms are pretty solid. There are good players, good teams, but not as strong compared to the Premier League or La Liga. They need and want to compete with the best. That’s why we see them in the strongest teams in the world, ”praises Barnett, ready to dribble past the ascendancy of Jorge Mendes and his early recruitment on the diamonds which shine the most from his youngest age in Portugal.

“We offer the best service, we offer more than anyone, our history is great. I’m not here to compete with Jorge Mendes. We want to see players every week, we want to have the best with us. If the athlete wants us, that’s fantastic, because we are very strong. Jorge looks after him, I have over 200 people working with me, it’s a completely different operation. We monitor the athlete in various aspects, from mental health to financial health when he retires,” says Jococo about Mendes.

“Who is Jorge Mendes? I don’t care about him, I’m number 1 by Forbes. It’s not a problem. You have to ask him how he is going to adapt to me”, he launched, between two jokes, stopping any misinterpretation: “We are good friends, we have already done operations together”, explained the Englishman , who has contracts valued at 1.3 billion euros, 300 million more than Gestifute.Barnett spoke with the sale of Bale to Real Madrid, currently having Grealish and Camavinga as main assets.

Read the full interview in the print edition or in the edition digital of A BALL

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