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I lived my dream playing alongside Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho – now I’m in a new job and my wife hates it

ANDREA ORLANDI lived the dream at Barcelona alongside Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho

Now he has a new job in football – but his wife hates it.

Andrea Orlandi is now the agent for Antoine Griezmann

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Andrea Orlandi is now the agent for Antoine GriezmannCredit: Instagram
Orlandi spent five years at Swansea where he helped them into the Premier League

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Orlandi spent five years at Swansea where he helped them into the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty

Orlandi, 39, earned a surprise two-year loan move from Alaves to hometown club Barcelona from 2005 to 2007.

And although he only played one LaLiga match for the Nou Camp giants, the shock transfer meant the winger trained with two of football’s GOATs

After spells with Swansea, Brighton and Blackpool on British soil, he then went to play in Cyprus, India and Italy.

But Orlandi was forced to retire suddenly in 2019 when doctors discovered a heart problem. 

However, he did not stay out of the game for long.

As well as his punditry duties for LaLiga TV, Orlandi stepped into becoming an agent.

And he started at the very top, with World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann his first client.

Orlandi explained: “I had to really think about it. But I met Antoine Griezmann when he was a Barcelona player. I met his entourage. 

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“His sister is his agent and she wanted to build an agency around Antoine. 

“They were looking for a football person to run the agency for them. And I thought that it was a great opportunity to work with a world champion to start off with and to build what I would say is a very good agency. 

“I connected with him straight away.

“Starting with a player like Antoine is a huge responsibility but it’s a huge privilege as well.”

Orlandi now looks after a host of players at By and For Sport Management.

He added to LaLiga Talks: “It was something that came to me after retiring because I played in different countries, and I started to pick up a few contacts. 

“A few agencies started ringing, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do it. Obviously, it’s a 24/7 job and it’s difficult. People might think it’s easy – you do one call, and you do the deal, get the money and job done. It’s not like that at all. 

“We look after players, we care for them because I just want the best for them. 

“I can give them advice in situations where I made the wrong decisions in key moments of my career.

“Now I’m a Fifa agent. I passed the exam. I’ve been working for more than three years now, and I’m gaining experience.”

I was just living my dream. Ronaldinho was just a rock star. I was so impressed, it was just like going to Disney for me!

Andrea Orlandi

Orlandi has settled into the life of an agent seamlessly and is clearly enjoying it.

But the same cannot be said for his wife – especially during January and over the summer.

Orlandi revealed: “I’m loving it. 

“The excitement of the transfer window is incredible. It is tiring and it is stressful. 

“My wife is not happy though! She’s not happy with what I’m doing. I’m the happy boy.”

Orlandi was also a happy boy when he had the chance to play with Ronaldinho at Barcelona.

Remembering his first training session at Barca, Orlandi said: “Ronaldinho. Wow.

“The first time I trained with the first team, he was the first played to turn up in the dressing room and he did his ‘surfer’ handshake. 

“I couldn’t believe it, I said to myself, ‘This isn’t real, this isn’t happening.’

“I’ve seen Messi as a young 18-year-old boy breaking through. But if you compare the magic of Ronaldinho to Messi, Messi being probably the best player ever, Ronaldinho was different. He was the best I’ve seen by far.

“Even in terms of talent, he had something else. I just wanted to be close to him, to be in the same five-a-side team for training. 

“I was just living my dream. He was just a rock star. When you see Ronaldinho and Xavi, I just wanted to be them. I was so impressed, it was just like going to Disney for me!”

Orlandi's wife is less keen on his career change

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Orlandi’s wife is less keen on his career changeCredit: Instagram
The winger also starred for Brighton but retired with a heart problem

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The winger also starred for Brighton but retired with a heart problemCredit: Action Images – Reuters
He trained with Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho at Barcelona

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He trained with Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho at BarcelonaCredit: AFP – Getty

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