Who are the best-paid football agents in the world?

Jorge Mendes 2015
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It is a lucrative business looking after the likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gareth Bale, as this group of super agents can testify

With the transfer market in full swing and about to reach its climax, it is the time of year when agents are most visible to the public.

They are the catalysts behind the game’s biggest moves as they seek to get the best deal for their clients, playing the media game on one hand while behind closed doors talking to clubs and seeking to broker deals.

While there are a plethora of agents throughout the world, there are a select handful who have become known as 'super agents' – men who look after the affairs of the biggest players in the game and ensure that they are maximising their money-making potential. 

Such figures can draw huge sums of money as a reward for their efforts, with agents taking funds as commission on transfer deals, a percentage of player wages (typically 10%) and, on occasion, third-party ownership.

Here are five of the representatives who are believed to be among the best paid in the world due to the value of the contracts they are in command of.

Jose Otin

Based in Madrid, Jose Otin is the big hitting agent from the Bahia Internacional agency, which has a raft of Spanish stars on its books, the biggest of which are Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa, Dani Ceballos, who recently moved to Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez.

There are over 100 players on the books of the agency, with Otin believed to be in charge of contracts worth £244 million ($303m), according to Forbes in 2018.

Whenever a big Spanish star moves from La Liga to England, Otin is generally the man behind the switch.

Volker Struth

Like Otin, Struth largely stays out of the media spotlight, but that does not mean that he has not amassed a formidable portfolio of stars. Just as Otin dominates the market for Spanish stars, Struth does likewise in Germany.

Among his clients are Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos and Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus. He has fewer players on his books than Otin but the contracts he is in command of are substantially greater, worth £375m ($464m).

Mino Raiola Zlatan Ibrahimovic 2018

Mino Raiola

One of the most instantly recognisable football agents in the world, Mino Raiola is reported to be in command of contracts worth £508m ($628.9m).

The Italian loves to appear in the media and is often especially stoic in his defence of his star attraction, Paul Pogba. He was the mastermind behind the World Cup winner’s move back to Manchester United after a successful spell in Italy with Juventus, and he works hard to ensure that his players remain in the spotlight.

Indeed, he has struck up a strong relationship with the Red Devils of late, as he also has Romelu Lukaku on their books, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan was once there. He has come a long way since former Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson called him a “s***bag”.

A big personality himself, he has a penchant for dealing with similar characters and has a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic among his clients.

Jonathan Barnett

One of the agents working overtime this summer is Jonathan Barnett, who has appeared in the media on a regular basis to defend Gareth Bale. The Welshman is his star client and after his fall out with Real Madrid he has apparently brokered a move to China, which will net the player a reported £1m ($1.24m) per week.

It is not just Bale that Barnett is in charge of. He also oversees the careers of other top names such as Joe Hart and Luke Shaw, while the Stellar Group he founded with David Manasseh is estimated to have over 500 players on its books.

Barnett himself was estimated to be in charge of contracts worth £643m ($795.6m) by Forbes in 2018.

Jorge Mendes

Often regarded as one of the most powerful men in sport, Jorge Mendes is the mastermind behind the Gestifute football agency, having come into the profession after a spell as a DJ.

Mendes has proven to be a natural in the business and has acted as a conduit between South America and Europe, often prising the best talent from Argentina and Brazil to stop off in his homeland of Portugal before going on to become international superstars. Among such faces are James Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria and Diego Costa.

Portuguese players have also been a major source of revenue, with Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva among his most successful in this regard.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, though, is the star client of Mendes, who has played a major role in guiding the five-time Ballon d’Or winner through his career and was the man behind his move to Juventus last summer.

Additionally, he currently has an exclusive deal with Wolves, where he acts as a transfer advisor. 

It is estimated that Mendes, who also has legendary manager Jose Mourinho on his books, has a portfolio of contracts on his books worth in excess of £807m ($1bn).