a Manager of a video club and discos in Portugal 20 years ago, Jorge Mendes, 50 years, is now the super agent of football, with clients such as Cristiano Ronaldo, and now in the heart of the scandal Football Leaks on tax evasion in the galaxy of the round ball. Nicknamed “the shark” by agents of the competitors, Mendes loved up here discretion. The man of small size is rare in the interview. It appeared that sneaking in galas around the foot, tan, flawless smile to the George Clooney, phone in hand or ear, always connected with the hundred of players or coaches and manages the interest.
But, since Friday evening, his name and face are in the headlines. The survey Football Leaks, carried out by several european media, denounced as “the workings of the system of concealment of tax put in place” by the Portuguese for ” to subtract at least 185 million euros of income from sponsorship to the view of the tax authorities, through a network of company-screens and offshore accounts in Ireland, the British Virgin islands, Panama, and Switzerland “. Mendes is vigorously contesting these charges. But his methods have always aroused suspicion. It was one of the first to exploit the property of players by third parties, such as investment funds, a practice now banned by Fifa (international football federation). (Obs) wrote in 2013 that he had created a company, Quality Sports II Investments, based in the tax haven of Jersey, which promised ” to wealthy investors to bet big on players become in order to perceive potential profit on a future transfer “.
The history of Mendes so far was that of a self-made man. Son of a worker of the petrochemical industry in the suburbs of Lisbon, he left the Portuguese capital, at just 19 years old to settle in the region of Viana do Castelo (north-west), where it is quickly revealed in the business. The video store opened has flourished and man has met with its first player, goalkeeper Nuno Espirito Santo, in a nightclub that he managed at the time. Mendes, a former footballer semi-professional, began, therefore, to forge close ties with the players Portuguese as he neared, extending his network and with the recruiters sent by the clubs foreign. “Having built up good contacts, it is obvious that the priority now is to maintain the trust relationships with the major european clubs,” he said in 2011 to the weekly Espresso.
” He works a lot with his players and cares for them permanently, ” noted for his part a few years ago Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid, where Mendes had found a spot with Ronaldo from Manchester United for 94 million euros. “I have every confidence in him. It is a big brother to me, a father in the world of football and the godfather of my son, ” said his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo in a documentary released in may 2012 on the occasion of 15 years of career of the super-agent.
Mendes, “Soft” CR7
” Jorge Mendes is for me a great friend, more than an agent. Our careers started at the same time and, fortunately, things went well for the two of us “, stressed to his side the coach José Mourinho, who has taken several players of Portuguese represented by the agent when he joined Chelsea the first time from Porto in 2004. Today, Mendes, “Soft” and CR7 are all the object of accusations of Football Leaks.
another customer of Gestifute, the company of Mendes, is also at the heart of the storm : Radamel Falcao, a Colombian who plays in Monaco. The business with the club monaco represent a kind of homecoming for the agent, who has sealed his first major transfer when the international Portuguese Costinha has joined the Rock in 1997. When asked about his working methods, Mendes had confided one day : “I’m not one of those agents who run after the players by making promises. Sometimes, their situation is almost resolved, and themselves do not know anything yet. “