Meet the woman behind Eriling Haarland: the super agent who made the Manchester City superstar one of the best-paid players on the planet despite having the sexist head of football tell her: ‘I just thought you were a bitch from Brazil’
- In less than a year it had negotiated the £51.2m striker’s transfer
- The opportunity came when his former agent Carmine Raiola passed away last April
They say behind every successful man is a great woman.
And for Erling Haaland, that woman is Brazilian super agent Rafaela Pimenta, who is busy propelling the Manchester City striker alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to become one of the world’s highest-paid footballers.
In less than a year, Pimenta has negotiated the striker’s £51.2m transfer to Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund as well as extensive sponsorship deals with Nike and Breitling Watches. It wasn’t a bad start considering she didn’t even expect to take over as Haaland’s agent.
The opportunity came when Pimenta’s 50-year-old former agent and business partner, Italian-Dutch football agent Carmine “Mino” Raiola, passed away last April.
Representing Haaland hasn’t always been easy. She says one of the main obstacles she faces is sexism in football.
They say that behind every successful man is a great woman, and for Erling Haaland, that woman is Brazilian super agent Rafaela Pimenta.
She is busy catapulting the Manchester City forward alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to become one of the highest paid soccer players.
In less than a year, Ms Pimenta has negotiated the striker’s £51.2m transfer to Manchester City from Borussia Dortmund as well as extensive sponsorship deals with Nike and Breitling Watches.
Ms Pimenta said: “Margaret Thatcher can run a country but she can’t be a football agent. Because in football a lot of men think only they know.
She remembers a negotiation with one of the club’s executives. He told her: I exchanged a lot with you via email. Then you really exist. . . I thought you were just a bitch from Brazil.
Ms. Pimenta says she’s still dealing with this man, adding: ‘I don’t think it’s demeaning to be a woman. If that’s how you’re trying to make me feel bad, then that’s pretty stupid.
After studying law at university, she worked for Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of Brazil from 1995 until 2002. While working for the government, Pimenta met Raiola at a charity soccer match.
Pimenta is also looking after former Manchester United player Paul Pogba and has started representing some of Spain’s most famous footballers.
Given the opportunity to create the identifiable superstar – the player who ticks all the boxes in this hyper-individualistic and sexually ambivalent age – football’s cynical money men would undoubtedly invent someone like Erling Haaland.
First, take his looks. “Amazing” doesn’t do them justice. With his blond hair, Viking locks (usually tied up in a bun for matches, but flowing down his back like sheaves of northern summer wheat when he scored against City’s nearest rivals Arsenal this week), icy-cold eyes, and a snub and rubbery nose. Lips, he might be the androgynous alter ego of Damon Targaryen, the menacing prince in the Game of Thrones spin-off House Of The Dragon.
Although he’s built like Conan the Barbarian, standing roughly 6 feet 5 inches in his sky blue stockings and weighing 15 feet, off the field he is the gentlest of giants, meditating every morning to help him deal with the demands of perfection. Manager Pep Guardiola puts it on.
His bizarre alternative lifestyle also extends to filtering his tap water, eating a largely organic diet (including whole ox hearts – not vegan) and turning off all digital devices several hours before going to bed, and wearing blue-tinted glasses to block out . Disturbing light rays and stabilizing the circadian rhythm.
When he scores, he doesn’t punch the air or kiss the badge on his shirt, like other forwards. Seeming oblivious to the chaos around him, he slid into the lotus position and closed his eyes, the epitome of Zen.