In a remarkable interview with Mino Raiola, the super agent has spoken about client Romelu Lukaku and the problems he had at youth level.
Speaking to Swedish paper Expressen, the 49-year-old gave us an incredible insight into Lukaku;s struggles between the ages of 12 and 14.
Expressing his thoughts on whether his black clients suffer from racism, Raiola tells the story about Lukaku at youth level:
“Many people in sport think like that. I give a name, for example a Dutch player. Their first question is whether he is black or white. I ask what the hell does it matter? Do you think this happens in American sport? Scottie Pippen, is he black or white? Who in hell cares? Can he play basketball? Can he play soccer?
“For Lukaku, this has always been a problem.
“I was talking to his mother. Eventually she went to youth matches with birth certificate. She always ended up with other parents who did not think he was 12 or 14 years old. It was always a fuss that he scored three or four goals.
“He was bigger and physically strong, yes. But they screamed that it was not in the right age. So she took the birth certificate. He was born in Belgium, but they spread false reports he been born in Africa. ‘Here it is’, she said.”
Earlier this year, a picture of a 13-year-old Romelu Lukaku re-emerged ahead of a transfer to Manchester United.
During his days at Anderlecht, the Belgian looked far older than his teammates and opposition, even towering above the referee during the game.