How the split between Cristiano Ronaldo and super agent Jorge Mendes came about: “Chelsea or Bayern or it’s over between us”

Jorde Mendes and Cristiano Ronaldo in better times. — © BELGAIMAGE

Cristiano Ronaldo was best man at Jorge Mendes’ wedding and Mendes is godfather to Ronaldo’s son Cristiano Jr., but this winter it came to a rift between the Portuguese super-agent and the 37-year-old star footballer. The Spanish newspaper El Mundo has now released details of how things went wrong. “You take me to Chelsea or Bayern or it’s over between us,” Ronaldo is said to have said last summer.

Michael Van Damme

The final shot in the close relationship between Jorge Mendes and Cristiano Ronaldo was the controversial interview with Piers Morgan, in which Ronaldo lashed out at his then club Manchester United. Mendes opposed that idea because it would limit Ronaldo’s options in the transfer market. But the 37-year-old Portuguese footballer persevered, resulting in his contract with United being terminated and a transfer to Saudi side Al-Nassr through another friend: Ricardo “Ricky” Regufe, the former Nike marketing manager who had managed to the grace of Ronaldo to come. Regufe had been guiding Ronaldo as a personal assistant for several years and appeared in Qatar with the Portuguese national team, which was reportedly not appreciated by other players.

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But according to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the relationship between Ronaldo and Mendes had already soured for some time. As Manchester United failed to force Champions League football, Ronaldo wanted to leave the club last summer. Mendes would have indicated that he disagreed with decisions Ronaldo had made in recent years, starting with his departure from Real Madrid, but Ronaldo did not tolerate any contradiction and gave Mendes an ultimatum: “Either you take me to Chelsea or Bayern or it is over between us.”

Cristiano Ronaldo with Real coach Carlo Ancelotti and Jorge Mendes. The agent thought that Ronaldo should not have left Real. In recent years they have disagreed more often and Ronaldo pushed his own will. — © EPA

Ronaldo was effectively offered to Bayern and Chelsea with both clubs studying the option. There were doubts given Ronaldo’s age and the potential negative impact on the dressing room, but both clubs were said to have pulled out after Ronaldo failed to show up for training during pre-season with United. Ronaldo later said, during the interview with Piers Morgan, that he missed that training because of his ailing daughter, having lost a baby boy three months earlier.

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Mendes tried to keep Ronaldo during this mercato at a club that plays Champions League – Dortmund and Atlético Madrid were called – but when that didn’t happen, Ronaldo cut off contact with Mendes and Ricardo Regufe was allowed to complete the deal with Al-Nassr. Ronaldo earns 200 million euros a year at the Saudi club. Refuge is said to have received a 30 million euro commission for this.

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