Ronaldo; Jorge Mendes’ favorite son

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes

Following James Rodriguez’s departure to Bayern Munich, Ronaldo now remains the only client of Jorge Mendes at Real Madrid. But who is Jorge Mendes?

It is no coincidence that Jorge Mendes was recognized as the Best Agent of the Year at the Globe Soccer Awards for six successive years from 2010 to 2015. But before the honor, glamor and the lavish lifestyle was a dream-chaser.

Jorge Mendes

Cristiano Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes

Born on January 7, 1966, in Lisbon, Jorge Paulo Agostinho Mendes started out as a footballer in his early years. The man who is now regarded as one of the most influential people in world football was forced to discard his ambitions of a professional career after being rejected by a host of Portuguese clubs.

As means to survive, Mendes took the initiative to start his own video rental store. He was also occasionally employed as a DJ, and he eventually opened his own bar and nightclub in Caminha, a town close to the Spain-Portugal border. There he occasionally met players from Braga, Porto and Vitoria Guimaraes.

Meeting Ronaldo

Good things, as the cliche goes, come to those who wait and they do so unexpectedly. While running his nightclub Jorge Mendes, probably with his failed dream of becoming a professional footballer as inspiration, toured football schools and youth teams throughout Portugal, spotting and signing young players.

His first encounter with Cristiano was on one of his scouting missions which saw him at Sporting. There, he secured of a 17-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo signature with the consent of his mother Dolores, as well as his long-time pal Ricardo Quaresma. To many familiar with the story of both Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes, saying the four-time Ballon d’Or winner made the founder of Gestifute who he is today is partially logical.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma during their Sporting days.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma during their Sporting days.

Prior to his life-changing encounter with Cristiano Ronaldo, Mendes had only negotiated a few deals that had attracted paramount earnings. He once drove 300 kilometers from Portugal to Spain to seal a dream move for the former goalkeeper and FC Porto coach, Nuno Espirito Santo; a deal which he didn’t take a penny from.

Nuno Espirito Santo mostly attribute his successes in football to Jorge Mendes.
Nuno Espirito Santo, now a very good friend of Jorge Mendes, mostly attribute his successes to the super-agent.

Nonetheless, the £12.24 million he brokered for Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United in 2003 posed to be the focal point in his development as the world’s most influential agent. The departure of an 18-year-old lanky boy with greasy hair to a club as big as Manchester United turned heads and instigated a domino effect, particularly in his native country Portugal.

Players and coaches came rushing to his doorstep and in just a year after Ronaldo’s move to Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Tiago, and Maniche all arrived in England to sign for Chelsea. Thanks to Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes, an incredible revolution started out in the English Premiership and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Cristiano Ronaldo being unveiled as Manchester United player at Old Trafford in 2003
Cristiano Ronaldo being unveiled as Manchester United player at Old Trafford in 2003

The bond.

Loyalty is one of the virtues Cristiano Ronaldo holds in high regard. Taking a sneak peek into his world, it is not hard to realize that his circle is made up of people he’s known and toiled with while growing up. Aside his immediate family, there is Miguel Paixao, Jose Semedo, and Ricardo Regufe to name a few, who are also swimming in the pool of success the world’s best player has been enjoying for years now.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Regufe and Junior - Dinner
Dinner time at Cristiano Ronaldo’s house in Madrid. [Image via @cristiano]
Jorge Mendes is also a very vital piece on that particular cheeseboard. Aside himself and his firm Gestifute dispensing their duties and being on the lookout for Ronaldo in the lucrative sport, the relationship between Mendes and Ronaldo exceeds just mere diplomacy.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes

It is more like the father and son type, although the 51-year-old super agent would have to rival Sir Alex Ferguson for the “second father” tag. He is his biggest fan, a big brother, father, and friend all rolled into one and, for that matter, a member of the big Aveiro Dos Santos.

“A good man… a true friend… an awesome human being” were the words Cristiano Ronaldo once used to describe him. Now, with all the aforementioned, is it surprising that the iconic number 7 bought Mendes a whole Greek island as a wedding present? Surely not!

Cristiano Ronaldo bought Jorge Mendes a Greek island as wedding present
Cristiano Ronaldo bought Jorge Mendes a Greek island as wedding present

Ronaldo & the Mendes gang at Real Madrid

The Portuguese superstar now remains the only one of Jorge Mendes’ clients at Real Madrid; at least not until Fabio Coentrao and James Rodriguez return from their respective loan spells at Sporting and Bayern Munich.

Other renowned clients of Jorge Mendes who have worked alongside his biggest client for Real Madrid in years gone by include Jose Mourinho, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho, Angel Di Maria and current AS Monaco star Fabinho.

Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez posing with their awards alongside Jorge Mendes
James, Mendes, and Ronaldo at the 2016 FIFA Ballond’Or Awards

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Emmanuel is a very vibrant writer from Ghana. Young but not small. Humble but full of hunger to learn and confidence to achieve greater heights in the world of online journalism. Emmanuel is passionate about the Beautiful Game with special love for English giants Manchester United and their former number 7 icon, Cristiano Ronaldo. In his leisure time, he loves writing and reading practically anything; old notes, e-books, articles... you name it! The Accra native and devoted Christian also loves drawing, swimming, watching and playing football both on the field and via FIFA video games. At times, Emmanuel loves to find himself alone at the beach and in nature.

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