Jorge Mendes is considered the most powerful and influential agent in world football.
The 56-year-old Portuguese was the one who launched the careers of many good ones, including Jose Mourinho, David de Gea, Joao Felix and of course Cristiano Ronaldo.
The two began collaborating in 2003 when Mendesh was the one who closed the transfer of the star from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United.
Since then and for about 20 years, they not only worked together, but became almost a family.
Mendes was the one who organized Ronaldo's transfer to Real Madrid in 2009 for 94 million euros (then a world record), to Juventus in 2018 for 100 million euros, and again to United in the summer of 2021. Over the years, Mendes has become the Portuguese's confidant, and a sort of spiritual father to the footballer His biological father passed away when he was a young man.
They not only worked and did business together, but also spent time together.
When Mendesh married his partner Sandra in 2015, Ronaldo gifted him a Greek island.
When Ronaldo announced that he had signed with the Saudi club Al Nasser, many were inclined to believe that Jorge Mendes was also behind this move.
Well, not only is Mendesh no longer Ronaldo's agent, it turns out that the relationship between the two has been completely severed - and a new and intriguing character has entered the picture.
Mendes and Ronaldo.
They were like father and son, photo: Twitter
I know Ronaldo since I was 16
Get to know 43-year-old Ricardo Rezuppa, Cristiano Ronaldo's new agent, who brokered the most expensive deal in the history of world football - half a billion euros to be paid by Al Nasser to Ronaldo over the next two and a half years.
Rejope, began his career as a PR man for the Nike company in Portugal in the early 2000s. He met Ronaldo when he was 16 years old, when the young talent was called up to the youth team of Portugal, of which Nike is the sponsor.
In addition to organizing PR photos, Regupe was also the man who took care of the national team players when they asked for shoes and clothes from the American sports brand. Ronaldo and Regupe's ties grew stronger over the years, at the same time as Ronaldo's business relationship with Nike, which he signed with him in 2016, strengthened Lifetime contract (only the third after Michael Jordan and LeBron James), for a billion dollars.
Razupa wrote on LinkedIn: "I started working at Nike at the age of 21 and it was a dream come true! Little did I know then that this move would change my life forever. Two years after I started I signed the best player of all time. It was a 'game changer' for Nike, for Ronaldo and of course for me. What an amazing journey it's been, and it's not over yet!"
Ronaldo and Rejope arrive in Riyadh, photo: Reuters
Created tension in the Portugal team
In the Portugal national team, everyone knows Rejope.
He was on the pitch in Paris winning Euro 2016 and was the first to hug Cristiano at the final whistle.
He also hung out among the players in a hotel in Doha, during the World Cup, even though he has not been a Nike employee for 4 years, but only serves as Ronaldo's business manager.
Some of the players did not like his presence in the hotel and even in training, and there are claims that this created unhealthy tension in the national team's camp in Doha.
Everyone at Manchester United also knew Rejope, who served as Ronaldo's business agent and PR person, the man we turn to when the Portuguese star is asked to come to events or photos on behalf of the club.
Indeed, until a few months ago, Rejope was "only" Ronaldo's business agent, and did not interfere in professional decisions.
But after Manchester United finished last season in 6th place and did not qualify for the Champions League, the crisis in CR7's relationship with Mendesh began.
Ronaldo is shown in Al-Nassar, photo: AFP
The straw that broke the camel's back
The straw that broke the camel's back
Ronaldo demanded from Mendes to find him a new team, one that plays in the Champions League, he did not see himself continuing in a team that plays in the Europa League.
You have to understand, Ronaldo played in the Champions League for 20 consecutive seasons, he has the record for goals (140), the record for appearances (183) and won the cup 5 times.
For him it is "his" factory.
And one can understand his frustration, especially after he finished last season with 27 goals, 8 of them in the Champions League.
He didn't say it explicitly, but everyone knows that Ronaldo is afraid that Messi will break his goalscoring record.
Faroush lacks a total of 12 goals to become the greatest scorer in the Champions League of all time - and if he does extend his contract at PSG for another season, and assuming that Ronaldo will no longer return to Europe - there is a good chance that this will indeed happen.
Mendesh explained to Ronaldo that it would be better for him to continue at United and try to return it to the Champions League next season.
He tried to find him another team, but none were willing to pay him €5 million a year, with United making up the difference.
But Cristiano was not ready to accept the situation.
In November he initiated the sensational interview with Piers Morgan in which he severely attacked Manchester United, which immediately led to his dismissal from the team.
He was determined to leave England, photo: Reuters
For Jorge Mendes, this was the straw that broke the camel's back.
The relationship between him and Ronaldo had been shaky even before, but that was the end.
It should be remembered, Mendesh has an excellent relationship with the managers of Manchester United and continues to do business with them.
These days he is trying to match them with Joao Felix, the young star of Atlético Madrid.
Rejope took advantage of the opportunity and became Ronaldo's agent.
Very quickly he sealed the deal with Al Nasser and he was the one who was next to him on the private plane that landed him and his family in Riyadh last week.
For many years, only a few knew who Ricardo Rejope was, even though he was photographed by Ronaldo's side at all major events: his presentation as the new player of Real Madrid, of Juventus, or when he won the Ballon d'Or.
But it's over.
Now the whole world knows him.
Verjoppa does not hide what he does.
on the contrary.
He uploaded more and more videos of Ronaldo on his Instagram page: climbing the stairs to the plane, sending a message to the fans during the flight, driving through the streets of Riyadh.
The next step will probably be to expand his business, to become a more influential factor in world football.
And no one will be surprised if we see more famous players move to the Saudi League - through the mediation of Ricardo Rejope.
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