One of the most powerful figures in world football has hit back as obituaries were written about him after he was incorrectly declared dead.
Football “super agent” Mino Raiola shot back at widespread media claims that he had died at the age of 54, taking to Twitter to say he was angered by the reports.
Reports of the death of Raiola, whose clients include Paul Pogba and one of world football’s current hottest properties, Erling Braut Haaland, quickly spread from Italy.
It was the second time this year that speculation surrounding his health has been denied by Raiola or his entourage.
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“Current health status for the ones wondering: p***ed off second time in 4 months they kill me. Seem also able to resuscitate,” Raiola’s official Twitter account said.
Raiola’s agency had earlier told AFP that reports of his death were “fake news” after Italian media widely claimed that he had passed away.
The Gazzetta Dello Sport, Italy’s most prestigious sports daily, even published an obituary for Raiola, who was born in southern Italy but raised in the Netherlands.
When asked by AFP whether the reports were true, Raiola’s agency said: “Mino is not dead, the stories are fake news.”
The agency would not reveal Raiola’s whereabouts nor whether he was sick. Italian news agency ANSA quoted Alberto Zangrillo, the head of the intensive care unit at the San Raffaele hospital just outside Milan, as suggesting that Raiola was fighting for his life.
“I am outraged by phone calls from pseudo-journalists who are speculating on the life of a man who is fighting,” Zangrillo said.
Raiola’s business partner, Jose Fortes Rodrigues, told ESPN Raiola remains in serious condition after he was admitted to hospital in January.
“It’s not true,” Rodrigues said about reports of Railoa’s death. “He is not dead, but he is fighting for his life.”
Raiola, whose clients also include AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is one of the sport’s most influential agents and most controversial characters.
He has been accused of inflating player salaries to unsustainable levels and has been embroiled in controversy over commissions made on transfers.
In 2016, former Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta said Raiola earned $40 million from the sale of France international Pogba from Juventus to Manchester United that summer.
Football Leaks claimed Raiola had received $70 million from three parties in the then world record $155 million transfer.