Super agent Mendes going extra mile for Olyroos hopeful Teague

Ryan Teague in action for Famalicao's Under-23 side Source: Supplied

It's one of football’s more unlikely alliances - the uber-wealthy player agent and the ambitious Australian novice striving to make a name for himself in Portugal.

In a modern day retelling of the prince and the pauper, former DJ turned money-spinning deal-maker Jorge Mendes has forged a bond with ex-Joeys skipper Ryan Teague.

With a portfolio of $1.4 billion in active contracts, and a client list including Cristiano Ronaldo, Jose Mourinho, Bernardo Silva and David De Gea, Mendes, 54, pocketed $32 million alone during the northern summer’s Premier League transfer window and boasts a personal net worth in excess of $120 million.

Teague, 19, is one of the lowest profile names of the 137 managed by Mendes’ Gestifute agency, yet the former Sydney FC junior has the Portuguese powerbroker ready to lend an ear at any time.

Having spotted the midfielder at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil in 2019, Gestifute signed him up and arranged his move from the A-League to Primeira Liga club Famalicao, a team with a strong connection to Mendes.

But Mendes, whose affiliates Joao Camacho and Jonathan Sousa first alerted him to Teague, didn’t simply tick off the deal and file it away.

He took a personal interest in Teague and his family, and 14 months on still provides a sounding board and support to the kid a long way from home.

A regular with Famalicao’s U-23s and a strong candidate for Olyroos selection for Tokyo in July, Teague is gratified Mendes is willing to take time off brokering deals - over $120 million in commissions alone in 2020 - to check on his progress and well-being.

“I’ve had a few meetings with him and was invited over for dinner to his home when I arrived,” Teague said.

“I can’t put words to how much he and the others in the agency have helped me.

“Even on my birthday he’s texting me to send his best wishes.

“He’s a man who deals with so many high calibre players and he’s incredibly busy.

“To take the time to do something like that... for me, it just gives me more confidence to go and show what I can do on the field.

“The agency checks on me - and that’s great. They say I’ve been getting good feedback from inside and outside the club.

“They have helped tremendously, knowing I’m alone in a foreign country.”

With Famalicao struggling at the wrong end of the table, the environment isn’t quite right for Teague’s elevation just yet.

But he’s been impressing either as a number eight or six with the U-23s and believes he’s gone to “another level” as the countdown to Tokyo continues.

“I have big dreams - I want to play for the Olyroos at the Olympics and one day also the Socceroos,” he added.

“But I understand all that takes patience and hard work. I just hope if I do go into a camp I can show the coaches I belong there.

“I’ll be grateful for any opportunity that comes along.

“I don’t think age is so much a factor - if I’m playing and performing well then I’m sure I’ll get looked at.

“I’ve been training at times with the first team - and hopefully my chance will come there soon.

“I’ve learned so much in the 14 months I’ve been here, especially adapting to the quicker style of football.”