FourFourTwo’s 100 most influential people in football right now: 60-51
Words: Michael Yokhin, Emyr Price, Seb Stafford-Bloor, Mike Holden, Alex Hess.
60. Jose Otin
Otin, a former footballer who was never good enough to play in the first division, used to work as radio host and pundit, and his reputation in Spain enabled him to become a successful agent after he opened the business curiously named Bahia Internacional.
His clients now include Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez, Chelsea's Pedro and Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres. El Nino is one of his most beloved players: Otin has been a diehard Atletico fan from the very beginning – his father first took him to the Vicente Calderon when he was 11 months old.
Football has always been Otin's greatest passion; he recently advised youngsters who dream of becoming professional footballers "to live for the game and to go to school kicking stones". He is known to be open and decent with his clients, and it's no wonder that tens of Spanish stars choose to be represented by him. MY
59. Bruno de Carvalho
Controversial and outspoken, De Carvalho has a huge influence on Portuguese football as the president of Sporting. He took the reins amid a desperate financial situation in 2013 and is trying to build the capital club as a major force once again, mainly by going to war against agents – especially Jorge Mendes, who was forbidden to do business with the club.
The abrasive De Carvalho is known to be rather impatient with his coaches too, and one brilliant young specialist – Marco Silva – was forced to leave the club after just one season in charge thanks to a fall-out with the president.
Sporting then snatched the veteran Jorge Jesus from city rivals Benfica, but that hasn’t helped them to win titles just yet. Nevertheless, they remain a powerful club, and De Carvalho proved to be a tough negotiator when selling Algerian striker Islam Slimani to Leicester for £28 million. Expect more shrewd deals by the president who was re-elected this year with a huge majority of votes. MY
58. Philippe Blatter
The Blatter family continues to carry huge influence in FIFA – regardless of Sepp's disgraced reputation. Step forward nephew Philippe, president and CEO of Infront Sports & Media, the firm that just so happens to have secured the deal to sell television rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups back in 2011.
The younger Blatter's influence is substantial. He now heads the sports division of Chinese parent owner Wanda, who by extension have exclusive broadcast rights for the next two tournaments in 26 Asian territories – including China. It also has links with FIFA's exclusive hospitality provider Match Hospitality, not to mention a 20% stake in Atletico Madrid.
Phillipe's dealings with FIFA are longstanding – as far back as 2000 he worked for McKinsey & Company, who were subsequently hired by Sepp on a consultancy basis for FIFA. The Blatter 'legacy' lives on. EP
57. Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa
It is virtually impossible to imagine Porto without their flamboyant president. Pinto da Costa has been calling the shots at one of the biggest clubs in Portugal since 1982, and oversaw the historic European Cup triumph in 1987 at the beginning of his remarkable tenure.
In the new era after the Bosman ruling, Pinto da Costa made a name for himself for his uncanny abilities in the transfer market, signing relatively anonymous players – many of them from South America – and selling them at a huge profit.
The examples of Deco and Radamel Falcao stand out, but Porto managed to make money for players who were not too impressive after leaving the club, including Eliaquim Mangala, Jackson Martinez, Giannelli Imbula and Danilo. A notoriously tough negotiator, Pinto da Costa has led Porto to no fewer than 20 championship titles during his time as president, making him one of the most successful bosses in football history. MY
56. Daniel Levy
Probably low on this list by his own design: Levy is notoriously private and his reputation depends almost solely on second-hand anecdotes. His 16 years as Tottenham’s chairman have characterised him as one of the savviest financial negotiators in the game and, by virtue of his willingness to bounce between managers and organisational philosophies, as a latter-day Doug Ellis.
The ends, however, have justified the means; Levy may not have always been universally appreciated at White Hart Lane, but his rigid stewardship has allowed Spurs to climb to their highest point in the modern era and, shortly, shall provide them with the largest club stadium in London.
His ability to successfully navigate that narrow sea, between commercial sustainability and sporting performance, portrays him as one of the shrewdest chairmen currently working in football. SSB