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Part 2 FIFA registered agents.
Gestifute The route to success
Gestifute is owned by Jorge Paulo Mendes Agustinho of Portugal. He has been voted on two consecutive occasions the best football agent in the world (how nice). He has a business partner, Luis Carreia also Portuguese.
His top clients include, Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, Di Maria, Fabio Coentrao,Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho (all Real Madrid). Falcao (Atletico de Madrid). Thiago Silva (PSG), amongst a lot of other talented footballers.
The following is a list of players who have been at the same club as Jose Mourinho whilst being with Gestifute and in brackets; the transfer fee paid by Mourinho, where no brackets appear Mourinho did not sign the player.
Ronaldo, Di Maria (£29m), Fabio Coentrao(£26.4m),Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho (£26.4m), Jose Bosingwa (£0.8m & £18M on two occasions), Paulo Ferreira (£1.8m & £17.5m on two occasions), Adriano Fabiano Rossato (£1.7m), Henrique Hilário (free), Tiago Cardoso Mendes (£10.5m), Ricardo Andrade Quaresma Bernardo (£21.6m). And at the opposite end of the scale Mourinho has only ever released one player attached to Gestifute Filipe Oliveira. Good business if you can get it.
Now I’m not suggesting that anything shady is going on with Gestifute and Mourinho, as many a manager takes players with them wherever they go but I do believe it to be suggestive of a possible conflict of interests. Plus I think this suggests that agents/agencies can on occasion have too much influence with regards to transfers and fees especially when the buying manager is also one of their clients.
It seems from Gestifute’s transfer and client history that they are fairly satisfied with the area almost under their control: Portugal.
Primarily agents have to build a network of contacts within their own territory, usually by the means of a friendship with the director of sport or the owner of a football club or the local scouts so they can sign a youngster early, quite contrary to most beliefs that agents go directly for the managers.
The managers are just another tradeable asset for these football agents.
For these agents to claim an area they have to have permanent contacts within a football club or scouting network. Below I will show you through the transfer history of Gestifute what an agent can achieve when he has a solid network within his chosen area and contact with a foreign network. In brackets total transfer fees exchanged over various moves.
- Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro-Sporting Lisbon (£97m)
- Radamel Falcao García Zárate-Porto (£46m)
- Ángel Fabián Di María, -Benfica (£36m)
- Thiago Emiliano da Silva -Porto (£54m)
- Nani – Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha -Sporting Lisbon (£22m)
- Pepe – Képler Laveran Lima Ferreira -Porto (£28m)
- Fábio Coentrão- Benfica (£27.5m)
- Danny – Daniel Miguel Alves Gomes -Sporting Lisbon (£31m)
- Ricardo Quaresma -Sporting Lisbon (£38.5m)
- Deco – Anderson Luís de Souza -Benfica (£37m)
- Bebé – Tiago Manuel Dias Correia-Vitória Guimarães SC (£8.75m)
- Anderson – Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira-Porto (£32m)
Now, all of these players have played in Portugal; believe me when I state that this list could take up 20 pages.
The pattern that is emerging, is a network within Portugal’s club sides, which stands to reason as Gestifute is Portuguese and primarily deals with Portuguese talent.
But there is also a network in Brazil and an emerging network in Argentina. So Gestifute must liaise with other agents/agencies from South America to arrange the transfers of players into Portugal and within a few years arrange for their high profile transfers in to one of the “Big Five” leagues consisting of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and England (with the odd exception of Russia).
It was in 2003 that Gestifute first started player trading within the UK, utilising Tony Henry’s (Formation) network of contacts. However over time this partnership broke down. The final act of betrayal was when Mourinho signed for Chelsea and Jorge Mendes cut the agency Formation out of any further deals and dealt directly with Chelsea (Abramovich). A court case is still on-going in Portugal over this partnership breakdown.
This is just one example of the route an agent/agency or multiple agents use to get their clients in to the biggest paying leagues in the world. Small networks either side of the Atlantic working together and not the clubs scouting networks as all good managers would have you believe. On the odd occasion that a Gestifute client has skipped Portugal they have ended up at Arsenal (Carlos Vela) & Barcelona (Giovani dos Santos).
Another crucial issue of the player transfer and representation market is the practice of third party ownerships related to players’ transfer rights. Many of the investments made by private investors on football players are in breach of Article 18 of FIFA Regulations and Transfer of Players (FIFA, 2010), which states: “no club should enter into a contract which enables any other part to that contract or any third party to acquire the ability to influence in employment and transfer-related matters its independence, its policies or the performance of its teams”.
According to FIFA some agents/agencies have owned shares of players’ transfer rights during their career as a licensed agent. This result is quite surprising given the fact that it was largely believed that third party ownerships mainly characterised the activity of football agents in South America. Several influential agents such as Mino Raiola, Juan Figer, Pini Zahavi and Jorge Mendes among others have been reported having active roles in investing on players’ transfer rights.
Recently, FIFA has started investigating the position of Quality Investment Fund, set up by the former Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon and co-owned by CAA Sports International and Gestifute (Duff and Panja, 2011). Other third-party ownership projects such as Traffic, Benfica Star Fund, Sport Investment Fund and Soccer BR1 have been set up to directly invest in clubs and academies by controlling their key asset –players’ transfer rights– without being legally responsible for the club with respect to football governing bodies.
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