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Court case that shows who gets what from football's richest transfers

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Court case that shows who gets what from football's richest transfers

• In the first of a three-part series David Conn reveals how a nightclub owner Jorge Mendes unlocked Premier League coffers
• From bar owner to dealbreaker: Jorge Mendes profiled



David Conn
The Guardian, Tuesday 18 January 2011

For a wheeler-dealer who not that long ago was running a nightclub in Caminha, a resort town north of Porto, Jorge Mendes's ascent to football "super-agent" has been stratospheric. His Gestifute agency harbours most of Portugal's stellar names – José Mourinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Carvalho – as well as Bébé, the former third division striker Manchester United signed this summer. In a few short years, Mendes has made enormous money from football as his client players have joined United, Chelsea and Real Madrid; he is reported to have received €3.6m of the €9m United paid for Bébé, earned handsomely when Real Madrid signed Ronaldo from United for £81m in 2009, and untold millions from other deals.

Last month, the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai, describing itself as "an annual meeting for all [football's] main market operators", declared Mendes "agent of the year" for 2010 accompanied by a video featuring high praise from Mourinho and Ronaldo. Mendes's own Gestifute agency humbly interpreted the award on its website as: "Jorge Mendes proclaimed world's best businessman".

Yet the football public still knows painfully little about how the game's multimillion‑pound transfer business is done, or how so-called "super-agents" actually earn their money. After United's extraordinary signing of Bébé his former agent, Gonçalo Reis, complained he had been cut off by the player before Mendes moved in and earned prodigiously from the €9m (£7.5m) deal. Since then, the Guardian has discovered there is a lawsuit against Mendes proceeding at glacial pace through the concrete-pillared district court in Porto brought by Formation, the English football agency formerly run by Paul Stretford, Wayne Rooney's agent.

It exposes an illuminating, bitterly disputed account of Mendes's rise to the big time, with Formation claiming Mendes reneged on a partnership with it once his client, Mourinho, moved to Chelsea as manager. The case also lays bare what supporters are never told of how football really works, including exactly how much Mendes was paid when three of his clients – Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Tiago Mendes – were signed by Mourinho for Chelsea in July 2004.

Chelsea's contracts both with the players and with Mendes, seen by the Guardian, show that Chelsea paid Mendes for acting both for the players and the club, but presented €2.45m not just as payment for completing the transfers, but for a baffling range of services, including ensuring his millionaire players turned up for training on time. All of that was permitted at the time by the Football Association, which still, following a U-turn last year, allows agents to act for both clubs and players in the same transfer.

The origins of the falling out between Formation and Mendes lie in Lisbon, in March 2002. There Stretford was introduced to Luis Correia, Mendes's nephew and a Gestifute director, by Carlos Freitas, a Sporting Lisbon director, who suggested they work together to move Portuguese players to England's money-soaked Premier League. Mendes, with close relationships at Sporting and Porto, had signed up most of Portugal's fine generation of players, many of whom would come to prominence when Mourinho's Porto won the 2004 Champions League.

In the court claim, seen by the Guardian, Formation argues that it agreed with Mendes to promote and represent Gestifute's Portuguese players in England, to share fees equally when moves were concluded, and that in May 2003 the two agencies signed a written agreement to that effect. Formation claims it shared its agents' fees exactly 50-50 in June 2002 when Sporting's Hugo Viana signed for Newcastle – Mendes's first major international deal – then when Nuno Capucho joined Rangers in June 2003.

Mendes did, according to the claim, share part of the fee he received from United when Ronaldo signed from Sporting Lisbon as a miraculously gifted 18-year-old in August 2003. However, after Mourinho joined Chelsea the following summer and immediately signed Carvalho, Tiago and Ferreira for a combined £41m, Mendes paid nothing to Formation. The relationship between the two agencies broke down, and Formation sued Gestifute, for half the fees Mendes was paid in those Chelsea deals, and in Ronaldo's transfer.

Tony Henry, the former Manchester City and Stoke City midfielder who was the main Formation agent promoting Gestifute players in England, remains furious. "I gave two and a half years of my life to Mendes," Henry, now chief scout at Everton, says. "I worked non-stop, introducing him to people, trying to get his players into clubs. We shared our fees honourably, but then once he knew people, and got Mourinho into Chelsea, he went on his own."

In its defence, also seen by the Guardian, Mendes's Gestifute company in Porto claimed it received "nada" – nothing – when Carvalho, Tiago and Ferreira joined Chelsea. Formation's Lisbon-based lawyers reacted by obtaining, via English and Portuguese court orders, Chelsea's original contracts with Mendes, which show that Chelsea paid Gestifute €2.9m in total when the players signed.

Formation accused Gestifute in court documents of having "lied barefacedly and shamelessly" for arguing it was paid nothing. Gestifute responded that its defence was correct because the €2.9m had been paid to Gestifute International Limited, a company registered in Ireland where corporate tax rates are much lower.

Formation is pushing for a court hearing at which Mourinho and Ronaldo are listed as court witnesses for Gestifute, as well as Peter Kenyon, who as chief executive both at Manchester United and Chelsea agreed the big deals with Mendes, and now has a formal partnership, as managing partner of the sports marketing company, CAA, to promote Mendes's players commercially. Arsène Wenger is understood to be proposed as a Formation witness – Arsenal were negotiating the details of a move for Ronaldo in 2003, right up until the player signed for United.

For all that Mendes is now dubbed a "super-agent", involved with players across Europe and South America, often part-owning their "economic rights", which gives him a cut of transfer fees, it is generally acknowledged that Hugo Viana, a slight 19-year -old who did not flourish at Newcastle, was Mendes's first major international football transfer.

Formation says it did most of the work; Henry had flown for his first meeting with Mendes in May 2002 to Switzerland, where Portugal's Under-21 team were playing Italy in the European Championships. Henry recommended Viana, then young European footballer of the year, to Stretford, who had very close links with Newcastle – Kenneth Shepherd, son of the club's then major shareholder, Freddy, worked for Formation. Charlie Woods, Newcastle's chief scout, went with Henry to watch Viana in the next game, and within a month, Stretford, Freddy Shepherd and Douglas Hall, Newcastle's other major shareholder, were meeting Mendes and Sporting directors in Lisbon to finalise Newcastle's signing of Viana, for £8.5m.

"Mendes was big in Portugal," says Henry, "wasn't known in England. A month after meeting us, we'd got one of his players a move to a major club and made him a lot of money."

The agent's fee paid by Newcastle, according to Formation's court claim, was £300,000. Stretford did the negotiations, the money was paid to Formation, and although no written partnership contract with Gestifute was yet in place, Formation agreed to share the fee exactly equally, £150,000 each, with Mendes's agency.

Stretford and Henry continued to promote Gestifute players to English clubs, particularly Ronaldo, the 17-year old sensation, whom they took to meet Wenger at Arsenal's training ground in November 2002. The two agencies signed the formal partnership agreement, for a two-year period, beginning on 27 May 2003. The first deal concluded after that was not Ronaldo but the winger Nuno Capucho, signed by Rangers for £670,000.

When United gazumped Arsenal for the signing of Ronaldo – paying £12.24m, far more than the €6m Arsenal were discussing – Mendes handled negotiations directly with Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenyon. The following day, according to the claim, Mendes told Stretford his fee for the Ronaldo deal was €400,000 and offered to pay Formation £80,000 in full settlement. Formation claims Stretford accepted because he wanted to preserve a profitable relationship, so it was deeply aggrieved when United published in their 2004 accounts that the payment to agents on the Ronaldo deal had been £1.129m.

After the Ronaldo signing, Formation says it pressed on with the partnership. No further deals were concluded, however, until after Porto beat Monaco 3-0 in the Champions League final on 26 May 2004, their team including Ferreira, Carvalho, Pedro Mendes and Deco – all Mendes clients. Days later, on 2 June, Kenyon, by then Chelsea's chief executive, unveiled Mourinho as the new manager. Chelsea then paid Porto £13.2m to sign Ferreira, £19.85m (a round €30m) for Carvalho, and £8m to Benfica for Tiago, all in July 2004.

Mendes negotiated those deals directly, according to Formation's claim, and did not report his fees to Formation or pay it anything. Mendes reacted by saying Formation had now itself breached their contract, so he would regard the partnership as ended. Formation sued Gestifute for the half of the fees it claimed were due.

Chelsea's original contracts, with the players and Mendes, obtained via court order in Portugal and which the Guardian has seen, reveal that the club paid Gestifute €2.9m in agents' fees, and shine a revelatory light into how football works. Agents were, still are, permitted to act for both a club and a player in transfer deals. Although that is an apparent breach of Fifa rules requiring agents to act with no conflicts of interest, the FA at the time allowed it. Subsequently the FA introduced a rule requiring players, not clubs, to pay agents, but after an outcry by agents they are now allowed to act for both again, as long as the players state they are happy with the arrangement.

Chelsea's contracts with Carvalho, Ferreira and Tiago were all for three years and set out the players' salaries – Carvalho starting on £2.18m a year "basic", plus bonuses and benefits including all housing costs; Ferreira £1.55m a year basic, Tiago £1.25m. Each included an agent's fee of €150,000 paid by the club to Gestifute SA, Mendes's Portuguese company, on behalf of the player.

Chelsea had separate agreements to pay much more. These were with Gestifute International, a company registered in Ireland, and were signed by Correia and Mendes. Identical other than the amounts involved, the three contracts include that lower fee, €150,000, to Gestifute for "acting on the player's behalf", which also appeared in each player's own contract. Then there are bigger payments: €1,050,000 for the Carvalho deal, €1,050,000 for Ferreira, €350,000 in Tiago's – €2.45m in total – for three duties ostensibly nothing to do with acting on the transfer itself.

The first was to pay Mendes "to facilitate the renegotiation of the player's contract with the club". The second, remarkably, was to "look after the wellbeing of the player … the agent will do his best to ensure that the player … timeously [sic] attends training and matches." The third was for Mendes to "act as a consultant … to secure any image rights attached to the player for the club".

Despite the description of those duties, the FA has confirmed that Chelsea paid the whole €2.9m through it, as English football's "transfer clearing house". Sources close to the arrangement have told the Guardian this was common practice at the time, with clubs describing such duties in contracts, indicating the fees were not paid to the agent for working on behalf of the club in the transfer. Chelsea, however, declined to comment when asked why they had framed Mendes's agents' fees as payment for such services.

The disclosure of these contracts led Formation's lawyers to accuse Gestifute of having "lied barefacedly and shamelessly" when it claimed it had received "no commission whatsoever" for the Chelsea deals. Gestifute's lawyers responded by saying that statement was true, because all payments were to Gestifute International, the Irish company. Contacted by the Guardian with a series of questions about the case, a spokesman for Gestifute said: "This is a normal commercial dispute. The matter is being dealt by our lawyers, and we are very confident that the Court will decide on our favour." Formation would not discuss the issues, saying: "We are making no comment as there is currently a legal dispute with Gestifute waiting to be heard in Portugal."

The garland of "super-agent" is accorded to just one or two of football's fixers, informed by very little insight into what they actually do. For Jorge Mendes the case crawling through the court in Porto reveals a great deal about how he – and football at the highest level – conducts their business.

Part Two

The brightest star in Europe and £1m to a mysterious agent

• Second of a three-part series by David Conn
• The deal that delivered Ronaldo to Old Trafford


Manchester United's signing of a callow, improbably talented Cristiano Ronaldo in August 2003 was a defining moment for the Premier League and modern football itself, heralding a dazzling new superstar for a fledgling millennium.

For the 18-year-old's agent, former nightclub owner and semi-professional footballer Jorge Mendes – who is being sued by the English agency Formation for half the fees he earned on that and other deals – Ronaldo's arrival marked his entry into football's big time. Ronaldo's brilliant Old Trafford career and the astounding £81m United received when Real Madrid signed him six years later, meant relatively few questions have been asked about the circumstances surrounding the player's arrival at United.

There have, however, been some: about which agents actually worked on the deal and how much they were paid; about how close Ronaldo came to signing for Arsenal; and why United paid £12.24m when it was rumoured Sporting Lisbon had been discussing a fee of €6m with other English clubs, including the north Londoners. Formation's court case against Mendes's company, Gestifute, with piles of the original documents filed in the Porto district court, reveals more details about the deal. The revelations fill some of the gaps, but also beg some further questions.

According to Formation's claim, and Tony Henry, Formation's then principal agent working with Gestifute, Mendes told them at the time that he had received €400,000 from United for the Ronaldo deal. Then United reported in their 2004 accounts that they had paid £1.129m to agents in the transfer.

In defence documents seen by the Guardian, Mendes has said United did not pay him at all and that his fee was paid by an Italian agent, Giovanni Branchini. The Football Association, through which clubs must pay all agents' fees, is understood to have stated, following court orders that it discloses the detail, that United did indeed pay "another agent" – not Mendes – £1m.

Why United more than doubled the fee being discussed to sign Ronaldo, and what role Branchini performed to merit being paid when Mendes was Ronaldo's agent, and why the Italian then apparently paid Mendes are questions that remain unanswered. Branchini and Mendes did not answer the Guardian's queries about these details of the deal.

Ronaldo's transfer figured among the 99 very public questions United's former major shareholders, John Magnier and JP McManus, asked of the club during their dispute with Sir Alex Ferguson over the stud rights for Rock of Gibraltar, the racehorse they had given him.
"Did [Manchester United] pay any commission to agents in relation to the transfer of Mr Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon?" the Irishmen asked.

"If commissions were paid, please identify the agent engaged on behalf of [United]. Please identify the agent engaged on behalf of the player.

"Please explain the reason for the amount of the commission and the process of calculation of that figure. Was the commission paid on behalf of both [United] and the player?"

United never confirmed which agents acted on the deal, nor who they acted for, nor how the payment of £1.129m was arrived at. In fact the club never produced public answers to any of the Irish investors' 99 questions about the club's transfer dealings.

United did announce subsequently that Jason Ferguson, Sir Alex's son, would no longer be involved in transfers at the club – he had acted on some, although not Ronaldo's – and Panorama's "Fergie and Son" documentary, detailing Jason's involvement in United deals, is the reason Ferguson Sr no longer speaks to the BBC.

United's board also then agreed to publish how much they paid agents on individual player deals each year, and disclosed the £1.129m in Ronaldo's case. That was a landmark commitment to transparency, which the Glazer family scrapped shortly after they bought United in 2005.

Formation's claim against Mendes's Gestifute agency, pursued via the court in Porto, and seen by the Guardian, alleges that Mendes reneged on a two-year agreement the two companies had signed in May 2003, to work in partnership and share fees when Mendes's Portuguese stars were signed by Premier League clubs. Formation, run at the time by Paul Stretford, Wayne Rooney's agent, says in the court document that the firm began to promote the then 17-year-old Ronaldo to English clubs from October 2002, after Mendes and Sporting Lisbon's sporting director, Carlos Freitas, said they wanted to sell him.

The court claim states Formation first suggested Ronaldo to Gérard Houllier, then Liverpool's manager. Then on 21 November 2002 Tony Henry, the main Formation agent working with Gestifute, and Mendes met at Arsenal to pitch the merits of various Gestifute players. Arsène Wenger was very interested in Ronaldo, as the Arsenal manager lamented in an interview three years ago. In fact, the document states Ronaldo visited Arsenal's London Colney training ground to meet Wenger and the coaching staff three days later, on 24 November 2002.

The claim states that Formation met Wenger again in January 2003, followed by David Dein, then Arsenal's vice-chairman, in February, and continued to discuss a move through the subsequent months, including at a meeting in June 2003 at the Hotel Concorde La Fayette in Paris. As late as 1 August 2003, the claim states that Henry was meeting Mendes in Porto to discuss Ronaldo's prospective move to Arsenal, which Henry, now chief scout at Everton, says was indeed priced at €6m.

Just five days later United arrived in Lisbon to play the now-legendary friendly with Sporting to open their Jose Alvalade Stadium, in which the 18-year-old Ronaldo bewitched United's defence with the full palette of his skills.

Ferguson always said his senior players begged him on the plane home to sign Ronaldo – although one United source said they had been intending to sign him before that game and allow him to continue on loan at Sporting – and within four days he was a United player for a fee of £12.24m.

Formation claims it was kept out of the negotiations with United, in breach of its 50-50 partnership agreement with Gestifute.

The day after Mendes tied up the signing of the football prodigy, Formation claims he met with Stretford at the Mottram Hall Hotel in Cheshire and told the agent he had received €400,000 as his fee for the deal. The court claim alleges that Mendes did not pay Formation 50% of that, as it had equally shared the fees on previous deals, but instead offered £80,000.
The agency says it accepted that figure, substantially less than it was entitled to, to preserve the relationship with Mendes, who had signed up most of the Portuguese internationals playing their way to prominence.

The companies later held discussions about Ronaldo's commercial deals, and Henry, who says he spent "85% of my time working with Jorge," continued to pitch the potential of Mendes's players to Premier League clubs. The relationship between the two agencies broke down terminally after the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and the signing of several Portuguese players through Mendes, for which Formation received no fees.

In the court action Formation has included a claim that Mendes "concealed" the full amount of the fee he was paid by United in order to pay Formation off with a lower figure – £80,000 – rather than half the £1.129m which United paid. Formation acknowledged, however, that other agents may have been involved in the deal, saying the true amount Mendes received would have to be determined from his company's accounts.


Formation's Portuguese lawyers obtained from the Porto court an order in this country that obliged the FA to reveal how much Mendes was paid by United when Ronaldo signed. The answer was €150,000 – a figure even lower than the €400,000 Mendes declared to Formation. In a defence document filed with the court more recently Mendes's company said it did not receive any commission at all from United, but was paid for its work in the deal by Branchini. He is a Fifa-registered agent, well known in his native Italy, who more recently appeared in this country as an associate of Fabio Capello, although not his agent, when he arrived to coach England.

Formation sought clarification from the FA, which arrived via a letter to the high court late last year, and prompted only further questions. The governing body is understood to have confirmed that, according to its records, United paid the full £1.129m through the FA as a "clearing house" as English clubs are required to do. However, the governing body said only €150,000 was then paid to Gestifute, and that the rest, £1m, was indeed paid to another agent.
United themselves have never said which agents were involved in the Ronaldo transfer, and it is unclear what Branchini did for the money he received in the deal.

Sporting Lisbon had made it known to both Mendes and Formation that they wanted to cash in on Ronaldo; Henry had actively promoted him to Premier League clubs and Arsenal were interested in signing him. United were even understood to have a "partnership" agreement with Sporting that they would have first refusal on the Portuguese club's players (only last week it was reported that Manchester City have replaced United in this arrangement).

Ronaldo played wondrously in the friendly with Sporting, Ferguson wanted him, and United moved immediately, so why would Branchini need to be paid by Manchester United? And if Mendes was – and still is – Ronaldo's own agent, why did Branchini then pay him more money directly, as Mendes has alleged?

Asked by the Guardian about these revelations and questions, United declined to explain. A spokesman said: "We have no comment to make. The deal was agreed, the correct payments made and we were delighted to secure Ronaldo who, with his hard work and our coaching, turned into the world's best player."

A spokesperson for Gestifute declined to comment on the specifics of the case but reiterated they were "very confident that the court will decide in our favour".

Formation declined to comment pending resolution of its legal action against Gestifute. Ronaldo did indeed develop into a global football icon at United and he, Manchester United and Mendes all made a great deal of money when the star was signed by Real Madrid for that staggering £81m in 2009.

Mendes is reported to have been paid a neat €8m then, although he has never confirmed it. Neither has he, United nor Real declared whether any other agents were paid, how much, for what work, or what they did with the money.

Although the fortunes involved have steepled higher, transfer deals are even less transparent now than they were in 2003-04, when the prince of stepovers arrived from Portugal, lighting up the game – but not the way its greatest clubs, or his agent, handle their money.

By David Conn on Guardian Online.
 
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I dont care who will paid what. or if we over paid 12million was a snip for crissy:wub:
 
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I dont care who will paid what. or if we over paid 12million was a snip for crissy:wub:
That's not the problem. The problem is something fishy's going on, and I'm not talking about the contents of McDonald's Filet-o-fish.
 
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I wouldn't be surprised if this is all true, and happens in a number of transfer deals in football. There is obviously a lot of underhand stuff that goes on in such deals, tapping up players and paying off agents is just the tip of the iceberg. Just look at the back-handers that FIFA representatives have reportedly taken, it seems money can turn any head nowadays
 
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so he mean,MU was cheat to get cr7?(like using bug in fm)?
 
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Yeah we were favourites to sign him for 6 million before fergie came in and doubled the price!!!
 
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That's not the problem. The problem is something fishy's going on, and I'm not talking about the contents of McDonald's Filet-o-fish.
The fishing thing is, Utd had to over pay to get Crissy, so some of the over paid transfer fee went to some Agent Via Sporting account to clinch the deal.
 
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I wonder if things would have been different had he signed for Arsenal or Liverpool, if he would have been different. £12million is a bargain, but imagine if Wenger had got him for €6million, thats like what, £3.5-4million? It does appear something fishy is going on.
 
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thread cleared up, stick to the point or GFTO and have an infraction to boot
 
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Very good read but I am so glad United did have him but it was inevitable he was going to leave for Real Madrid or Barcelona one day so I am glad we got a good amount of cash for him as well, plus it gave Rooney the chance to have his best season.
 
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Heres part Three:

How Manchester United's Bébé went from street kid to €9m player
The third part of his series looks at the multimillion pound deal that took the striker from the Portuguese third division to Old Trafford

Gonçalo Reis has spent five months stewing on the betrayal he felt when he was sacked as the agent to Tiago Manuel Dias Correia – Bébé – who then, two days later, moved to Manchester United for €9m, the most improbable signing in the career of Sir Alex Ferguson, who admitted he had never seen the player kick a ball.

A 20-year-old who spent his youth in care near Lisbon after being abandoned by his parents, Bébé had played only one season, 26 matches, for Estrela da Amadora in the Portuguese third division, before Reis negotiated a move for him to a first division club, Vitória Guimarães. Last summer Bébé played four pre-season friendlies for Vitória, and sacked Reis as his agent on 5 August by letter, which Reis says he received on 9 August; then Bébé was the subject of a deal with United that works out as £7.5m on 11 August.

United confirmed subsequently that Jorge Mendes, agent to José Mourinho, who has become a huge influence in Portuguese football and previously negotiated the moves by Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Anderson to Old Trafford, acted for Bébé. Vitória's directors stated at their annual meeting late last year that Mendes, after seemingly less than a week's work, had been paid €3.6m of the €9m fee. Reis had a two-year contract to act as Bébé's agent from August 2009 to August this year.

Now Reis says he is "seriously considering" making a formal complaint to Fifa about the manner in which he lost his client to Mendes. "I spotted Bébé playing," he recalls, "I could see he had talent but, because of the person he is and his very poor and difficult background, I had to look after him very closely as a person, as well as be his agent. I negotiated his move first to Estrela, then to Vitória, then last summer he went missing on me. I read that he had agreed an improved contract with a €9m buyout clause at Vitória, then I suddenly received this letter in which he purported to say our relationship was at an end. Two days later he went to Manchester United for €9m. I am now very seriously considering making a complaint to Fifa."

Mendes has made no comment on his role in taking Bébé to United, or to confirm whether he did indeed receive €3.6m of the €9m fee, as stated by Vitória's directors. Reports in Portugal of the club's annual meeting last October said Mendes made the bulk of his money by selling the player's "economic rights" to United, rather than for acting as his agent. The contract Reis says he was negotiating for Bébé at Vitória was that the player himself would keep 30% of his economic rights, meaning he would receive that proportion of any transfer fee Vitória sold him for. Vitória's directors reported that Bébé did indeed have such a clause, but that Mendes, before agreeing the deal with United, had bought Bébé's 30% of his own economic rights – for €100,000. When Bébé was then sold on to United days later, Mendes had become entitled to 30% of United's €9m fee, which worked out at €2.7m. The further €0.9m is assumed to be his fee for acting as the agent – a further 10%. Vitória were left with 60% of the fee, according to the reports, €5.4m.

In response to a detailed series of questions about Mendes's earnings on the Bébé deal and Reis's complaint, a spokesman for Mendes's Gestifute agency said: "There is no basis for any action against us in relation to Bébé." She also said: "We never discuss publicly details of the deals brokered by us."

United themselves described Bébé's signing as "one of the most astonishing transfers of the summer," which is an understatement. When the club suddenly bought him on 11 August, Bébé had very little formal football coaching behind him and barely registered as a player in Portugal until Reis negotiated his move to Guimarães, where he played well in pre-season friendlies. Ferguson said Bébé had been recommended to him by his former assistant, Carlos Queiroz, also a client of Mendes and at the time the Portugal manager, and by scouts based in the country. Most extraordinary, perhaps unprecedented, was that Bébé was still living in the Caso Do Gaiato care home, with 80 other boys and young men, until he moved to play for Manchester United.

Reis did believe Bébé had potential; he signed a two-year agreement to represent him as his agent, to run from 19 August 2009. Reis says he negotiated Bébé's first move to the partly professional, financially struggling Estrela, based in Lisbon's north-western outskirts, when Bébé was 19. The club's financial difficulties meant they did not pay Bébé, so he became a free agent. Reis tried to pitch the player's potential to bigger clubs in Portugal and around Europe, including PSV Eindhoven, who he says were not interested. Vitória, based in Guimarães in the north of the country, agreed to take a gamble on him.

Reis says he was negotiating the details of Bébé's proposed contract with Vitória from May last year. Bébé attacked his chance there, playing formidably in the pre-season friendlies. Reis claims Bébé suddenly went missing; he did not turn up to a scheduled meeting in Lisbon and Reis could not get him on his phone. From then, according to Reis, he had no contact with the player he had regarded as his protégé and potentially valuable client. He read in the newspapers that Bébé had signed a contract with Vitória, then, after notable performances, an improved one with the €9m buyout clause.

Bébé, a young man of poverty and patchy education, sent Reis a letter, dated 5 August last year, which said the contract they had was balanced in Reis's favour and that he was unhappy with complaints Reis had made to the Portuguese media about having been kept out of Bébé's negotiations with Vitória. Bébé said he had negotiated that contract himself. For all these reasons, the letter, signed by Bébé, said he was treating his contract with Reis to be his agent as at an end.

Fifa's rules on the conduct of agents, which Sepp Blatter's world governing body still currently oversees although it is about to abandon licensing of agents altogether, state that an agent cannot induce a player to breach his contract with another agent. When Mendes became involved is not clear, nor how he came to represent Bébé, a relationship United confirmed in the only interview Bébé has given so far, exclusively to the club's official website in November. In it, Bébé said he had been playing well for Guimarães in pre-season friendlies and: "Suddenly Jorge Mendes told me about the deal. I was very happy at the time, I didn't expect it. It was like a dream to me."

Reis says he restrained himself from complaining at the time because he did not want to disrupt Bébé's settling in period at United. "What happened was wrong," Reis says. "If he had come to me, and said he is the major agent with the experience of deals at the biggest clubs and we should come to an arrangement, I would have talked to him. Instead I receive this letter signed by Bébé two days before he moves to Manchester United, with Mendes as his agent. That is not right."

Shortly after Bébé joined United, Ferguson lambasted as "vicious" reports that Bébé was too raw a footballer amid the polished skills exhibited by the senior players at Old Trafford. Bébé has made two appearances as a substitute in Premier League matches, played three times in the Carling Cup and once as a substitute in the Champions League, at Bursaspor where he scored in a 3-0 victory. He has also played for Portugal Under-21s, many of whose players Mendes has represented in recent years, along with the majority of the senior national side.

At the time Bébé went to United, Emilio Macedo, the president of Vitória, hailed the work Mendes had done. "Jorge Mendes has been the bulwark of this transfer," he said. "With all due respect to other agents, this country owes him a lot because he handles large transfers and brings money into the country. This is like an export."


---------- Post added at 02:55 AM ---------- Previous post was yesterday at 08:29 PM ----------

first part added to OP
 
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First article added to the OP. Bit of a read but definitely worth it IMO (Although it's a bit confusing and repetitive) - Very interesting to know all the background stuff, it seems Jorge Mendes has really done over a lot of people, but I guess that's what business and football is about nowadays; stepping on other people to go forward yourself
 
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First article added to the OP. Bit of a read but definitely worth it IMO (Although it's a bit confusing and repetitive) - Very interesting to know all the background stuff, it seems Jorge Mendes has really done over a lot of people, but I guess that's what business and football is about nowadays; stepping on other people to go forward yourself
he is everything thats wrong with super agents and football
 
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he is everything thats wrong with super agents and football
Completely agree. It's hard not to tbh..

Knew there was something dodgy about the Bebe deal, but had no idea the corruption/whatever you call it went this far back and is largely down to just one man being a massive, selfish *******:

In the court action Formation has included a claim that Mendes "concealed" the full amount of the fee he was paid by United in order to pay Formation off with a lower figure – £80,000 – rather than half the £1.129m which United paid.
 
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Your telling me an agent made nearly 3 million from the Bebe transfer? That is mad!
 
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Seems appropriate to bump this rather than clog up the Rumour thread with ****.

According to the Telegraph and ESPN, Bebe's loan deal to Besiktas will include an option to sign him permanently. If true, Utd stand to lose £5.4 million.
 
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Fee has not been agreed. It is just a rumor. Neither clubs have reported anything on this..

Wouldn't mind seeing him go tbh..
 
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