Mino Raiola

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Report: AC Milan begins talks for Zlatan return

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According to a report by Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, AC Milan has begun preliminary talks with Zlatan Ibrahimovic via his longtime agent Mino Raiola.

Ibrahimovic played the last two seasons for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, and lit the U.S. league on fire with 53 goals in 58 games. The Swedish international was his usual lightning rod self throughout his MLS tenure, claiming on multiple occasions that he was the best player to ever play in Major League Soccer.

Romano says that nothing is immediately imminent and that Zlatan will take his time deciding on his future, saying he could know in the “next weeks” where he will head.

While Zlatan did not release his intentions upon leaving the Galaxy, a return to Serie A has been heavily rumored for weeks. He played for AC Milan from 2010-2012, and prior to that spent three seasons with Inter Milan from 2006-2009 as well as two seasons with Juventus from 2004-2006. He won six Serie A titles between the three clubs, including the 2010/11 Scudetto with AC Milan.

There have also been significant reports linking Ibrahimovic to Serie A side Bologna where Zlatan is friends with manager Sinisa Mihajlovic. The Serbian boss has battled leukemia this season but has decided to coach through it, and Zlatan reportedly wishes to show his support by signing up to play for the squad.

Man United ‘in the process’ of selling Pogba

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This summer Paul Pogba has made his wish clear to leave Manchester United, and it appears the Red Devils are now working on making it a reality.

Pogba, 26, told reporters at a promotional event in Japan last month that “now could be a good time to find a new challenge.”

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The French World Cup winner has spent the last three seasons at Manchester United following his then world-record $110 million transfer from Juventus in 2016.

Speaking to The Times on Friday, Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has confirmed he is working on behalf of his client and with the club to seal a transfer away from Old Trafford.

“Everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on. We are in the process of doing that,” Raiola said. “Everyone knows what the feelings of Paul are… Everyone within the club, from the manager to the owner, knows Paul’s wishes.”

The timing of this statement makes sense, but quite how far along Raiola is in “the process” of a transfer remains to be seen.

United are heading to the preseason tour of Australia and the Far East on Sunday, and it is clear Pogba doesn’t want to be on that plane. When asked that, Raiola simply added: “I cannot tell you anything. I live day by day.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had given Pogba extra time off and he has yet to return to preseason training at their Carrington base, but the reason given for that was due to Pogba’s heavy workload last summer at the World Cup as his summer break was cut short by then manager Jose Mourinho.

Clearly that isn’t the case and his erratic form for the Red Devils first under Mourinho, and then in the latter months of last season under Solskjaer, prove he just isn’t what United need at the moment. Over the past three seasons he has had severe ups and downs, as United have won the League Cup and Europa League, but have twice finished outside of the Premier League’s top six. Last season was his best-ever in terms of his output, as he led United with 16 goals and 11 assists.

Pogba’s influence in the dressing room is massive and if he wants out there is likely to be a cloud hanging over United’s squad until it happens. Solskjaer has hinted at more transfer deals to be done by United this summer, as so far they’ve added young talents Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a combined cost of $85 million. If Pogba leaves and Romelu Lukaku follows him out of the door, United will need to spend plenty to replace their star quality. That said, their new transfer policy involves buying young, hungry players instead of superstars who are the finished article.

Real Madrid and Juventus have both been linked with a move for Pogba this summer, as the central midfielder is contracted to the club until 2021 and this transfer window represents the best chance for United to recoup the vast majority of the $110 million they paid for him.

With the transfer window shutting for Premier League clubs on Aug. 8, we haven’t heard the last of this one.

Raiola transfer ban extended worldwide by FIFA

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According to reports across Europe, including Sky Sports, superagent Mino Raiola has seen his transfer ban extend worldwide by FIFA’s disciplinary committee.

News of Raiola’s initial suspension came through on Thursday, with the Italian FA banning the agent from performing his representative duties for three months, a suspension that only took effect within the Italian federation. However, the reports on Friday state that the chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee, Ghanan judge Anin Yeboah, has taken charge of the case and extended it to apply worldwide. This means Raiola is effectively banned from performing any duties as an agent for the duration of the suspension.

It is still unclear what the reason for the suspension is, as neither the Italian FA nor FIFA have officially stated the reason for the disciplinary action. However, Gazzetta dello Sport reported Thursday that the suspension has to do with the 2015 transfer of Gianluca Scamacca from Roma’s youth system to PSV. Scamacca, now 20 years old, was just 16 at the time, and the transfer reportedly angered Roma. The report did not explain what rule Raiola may have violated during the proceedings of that transfer.

The exact start and end dates of the suspension are not known, but theoretically, if it were to take effect yesterday, that would mean Raiola could resume duties on August 9, exactly one day after the close of the summer transfer window in England.

The ban could have a significant affect on the transfer market this summer, with Raiola representing a number of high-profile players who are the subject of heavy transfer speculation. The most notable two Raiola clients are Paul Pogba and Matthijs de Ligt, with Pogba reportedly unhappy at Manchester United and de Ligt a highly sought-after young defender set to play in the Champions League final with Ajax in a few weeks. Raiola will likely have coworkers and colleagues who could perform the duties he would otherwise complete during a normal, uninterrupted transfer window, but it could leave Raiola clients in a tricky situation if they are unable to communicate with their agent normally.

Raiola said Thursday that he would challenge the suspension legally, calling it “a sentence dominated by political willing, without taking into the right consideration the reason of law.”

Superagent Raiola given three-month transfer ban in Italy

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Ahead of the summer transfer window, Italian superagent Mino Raiola has been handed a three-month transfer ban by the Italian FA for unknown reasons. Raiola announced he is appealing the suspension.

Raiola is best known for representing Paul Pogba, plus Mario Balotelli, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and many others.

The statement from the Italian FA read, “The Sports Procurators Commission condemns Mr Carmine [Mino] Raiola and Mr Vincenzo Raiola, on their own behalf and as legal representatives of the companies they represent to sanction of the suspension from the exercise of the activity of sports attorney to the extent, respectively: with regard to Mr. Carmine Raiola, of 3 months, with regard to Mr. Vincenzo Raiola, of 2 months.”

Raiola himself said he does not know why he was banned, incredulously claiming it to be “perhaps the result of a story by some frustrated weirdo.”

“I immediately called in lawyers and I appeal,” the 51-year-old told Dutch outlet Eindhoven Daglbad. “This is a personal error. I have not received any explanation.”

“You can ask me three thousand questions about it, but I honestly don’t know what is going on,” Raiola insisted. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the suspension has to do with the 2015 transfer of Gianluca Scamacca from Roma’s youth system to PSV. Scamacca, now 20 years old, was just 16 at the time, and the transfer reportedly angered Roma.

“My personal feeling is that this punishment responds to a political will, without taking the law into account,” Raiola later said in a tweeted statement. “It’s a sanction based on falsehoods and lies. Law and justice must prevail in any correct system and I hope my name will be restored in the next chapter of this story.”

Raiola’s ban only takes effect with regards to Italian clubs, so it shouldn’t affect Pogba’s reported efforts to leave Manchester United for a top Spanish club. It would have affected Romelu Lukaku‘s reported interest from both Juventus and Inter, but Lukaku left Raiola earlier this year for Roc Nation Sports.

It could, however, affect the summer fortunes of Dutch youngster Matthijs de Ligt, who is represented by Raiola. The 19-year-old Ajax captain has been linked with top clubs all over the map, with Juventus included in the mix.

Pogba’s agent hits back at critics, dares Man United to sell Pogba

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Mino Railoa, the agent of Paul Pogba, has emptied a can of gas onto the already-raging inferno that is Manchester United, daring the club to sell his superstar client if anyone around the club is unhappy with his performances.

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Raiola’s comments came Tuesday morning, in the wake of harsh — but fair — criticism over Pogba’s performance in Man United’s 3-2 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday. United legend Paul Scholes merely echoed much of what the 25-year-old Red Devils captain said of himself and his teammates during post-game interviews.

“There’s a lack of leaders in the team. We thought Paul Pogba might be the ideal candidate to be that leader, but he wasn’t there today. He had another really poor game. He’s so inconsistent.

“Pogba’s playing the ball out of play, he’s overhitting passes, he’s hitting passes short, he’s getting caught in possession.

Still, it didn’t sit well with Raiola, thus he launched a Twitter attack early Tuesday morning, facetiously advising Scholes to “become United’s sports director and advise [chief executive Ed] Woodward to sell Pogba.”

The reality is, of course, that every time Pogba completes a transfer, Raiola pockets a massive windfall of cash. It was reported that he received a $29-million agent’s fee following the Frenchman’s move from Juventus to United in the summer of 2016.

[ MORE: Klopp: Let’s not worry about sending statements to Man City ]

Gary Neville and Mike Phelan, Scholes’ former teammate and assistant manager, respectively, wasted little time in hitting back at Raiola. Jose Mourinho, who spent the latter part of the summer criticizing Pogba — and plenty of his teammates — has not yet weighed in on Raiola’s comments, but his response will undoubtedly arrive in short order.

The five-alarm fire burns brighter and hotter than ever before.