London (AFP) - Agents are a "cancer" on the game of football, Napoli's outspoken president Aurelio De Laurentiis declared on Wednesday.
"Agents are the cancer of our domain," De Laurentiis said during a talk at the Leaders Sport Business Summit in London.
He told reporters: "Not every agent. It is the system which is weak. But I don't understand why you need an agent always.
"The agent behaves like a tax and sometimes they want to be paid up front. You make a contact for five years and they want to be paid in two, three years.
"Why? Because when they receive all the money, they go shopping around and making your players crazy.
"They will say, 'I'm negotiating with (for example) West Ham. They will pay you two million more.' So these poor guys start to play not in the appropriate way."
De Laurentiis, a prominent film producer, strongly criticised Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain after he left Napoli for Juventus earlier this year, saying he had "betrayed" the club.
Higuain, who cost Juventus 90 million euros ($100.9 million), countered that he had been "pushed" out of Napoli by De Laurentiis and "couldn't stand another minute with him".