Super agents have never been among the most popular figures in football yet Cristiano Ronaldo’s impending exit perhaps shows why the game’s top players want men like Jorge Mendes involved.
Since before the end of last season the Juventus No.7 had his mind open to a transfer. His time in Turin had not been a disaster but, if anything, the team have been going backwards rather than forwards. Mendes took the situation into his own hands and moved forward in determination to pull off one of the big transfers of 2021. For the past four months he has been looking for a new home for his most famous client - and no stone was left unturned.
The main clubs in sight were Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester United, Man City and Chelsea. Through varying degrees of approaches and meetings, Mendes did not have much joy in his discussions. Yet when an opportunity arose in the market he was ready to strike - that moment arrived with Harry Kane and his failed switch to Etihad Stadium.
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As this season began and a transfer seemed increasingly unlikely, Ronaldo had maintained his stance that if a good offer came up - particularly in England - he would want to go. Mendes vowed to keep on trying.
Throughout the window, City distanced themselves from Ronaldo. His huge wages at Juventus do not fit with their pay structure and his playing style does not fit with Pep Guardiola’s philosophy. Oh, and he is a legend of that other club down the road.
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That stance suddenly changed this week. By Wednesday sources at the club were suddenly saying: 'Well, we do need a proven goalscorer who can make the difference in big fixtures. We can’t dismiss him.'
Mendes works in magical ways and if you compare all this to how Kane’s situation played out, you begin to realise why elite players attach themselves to men like Mendes ,who can be trusted to make things happen.
Charlie Kane, brother of the England captain, will feel he did all he could to try to force Spurs into selling their poster boy. He waited and hoped that City could make an offer that would force Daniel Levy to buckle and the striker spoke publicly of his career ambition to win trophies. Yet no breakthrough ever came - and then Mendes turned up on City’s front door and convinced the men in charge that he had an option they could not turn down.
Some sources say he literally went to the top of the club - the owners - to get this moving. He has contacts and relationships that most agents can only dream of, so that would not be a huge surprise. Someone doesn’t like his idea? He’ll go over their head to the next boss to keep the dream alive.
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This transfer has come a long way in the past 48 hours yet key to making the move happen, and getting it over the line, is in finalising some financial details. Trying to haggle over his value has not worked for City so far.
As they became open to the idea of signing Ronaldo they also intimated they would want no fee attached - or a very low one - in order to accommodate him. Juve were not having it and made that clear to Mendes. If he wanted to move his player to another club then they needed a fee that converts to around £21m.
City were willing to pay £125m for Harry Kane, so there is really no way they can convince Juve they can not stretch to the amount they are seeking for five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo.
Mendes got to work in negotiating and it seems that one way they have been trying to ensure this happens is by the player reassessing his own terms. What initially began as an expectation that Ronaldo would want £500,000-a-week quickly became half that amount.
They could not expect a 37-year-old forward, who is past his prime, to earn that type of money when star man Kevin De Bruyne - one of the best players of this current generation - has recently agreed a deal for around £380,000-a-week. There was a realisation of that and having to fit in.
Mendes has been driven to find a way for City to give Juve what they want in terms of a transfer fee too and it is understood that by dropping Ronaldo’s personal terms, he has encouraged them to make up the money to the Italian club. We will see how that opens up as talks resume but as of Thursday evening there was still a real expectation that City, Juve and Ronaldo would find a way to come out to an agreement.
Surprise at lack of interest from United
Juve are disappointed it is all ending like this. The project has not quite gone to plan yet they certainly did not want him to leave yet.
Ronaldo has asked to go though and they still believe they can be successful without him. In fact, some believe this may even help the team evolve under Max Allegri. Ronaldo is Ronaldo: having him in your team can feel like you have a superpower. But there are other ways to win.
It’s slightly surprising United have not shown more interest in taking Ronaldo back and that really would be an intriguing late twist if they came into the reckoning at this stage.
There is shock and surprise both in Turin and Manchester that this transfer has moved so far, so quickly, yet City need a goalscorer and it seems the persistence of Mendes has convinced them there is only one man for the job.
This is a transfer that has caught everyone off guard but Ronaldo and Mendes always had hope they could become part of one of the most remarkable transfer windows we have ever known - and here we are.
If Juventus get the financial package they are seeking from City in the coming hours, former Old Trafford hero Ronaldo will get the green light to complete a controversial move to the blue side of the city.
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