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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.