Thiago Motta replaces Mihajlović as Bologna coach

BOLOGNA, Italy (AP) — Former Paris Saint-Germain and Italy midfielder Thiago Motta will be named Bologna’s new coach, replacing sacked Siniša Mihajlović.

“We have decided that from Monday the coach will be Thiago Motta,” Bologna CEO Claudio Fenucci announced at a press conference ahead of a game against Fiorentina on Saturday. “His choice is linked to a long-term project.”

Mihajlović was dismissed on Tuesday with Bologna unable to secure a victory in their first five matches. It was the first coaching change in Serie A this season.

It will be the third coaching job for Motta, who steered Spezia to safety last season after also coaching Genoa in 2019.

Motta, of Brazilian origin, played for PSG from 2012 to 2018 and was also a member of the Italian national team, reaching the final of the 2012 European Championship with the Azzurri.

Mihajlović coached Bologna for 3½ years, becoming a sentimental fan and player favorite for his desire to stay at work even after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2019.

Players sometimes gathered under the hospital window of Mihajlović, 53, when the coach was receiving treatment.

“It was difficult because of the human connection we created,” Fenucci said of the dismissal. “I consider him a friend. He is strong. (But) we reasoned and looked at the performance of the team this year and saw that the team had only won four times since January. Every once in a while a club in our financial situation gets relegated, so we had to do something.

Bologna youth team coach Luca Vigiani will lead the team against Fiorentina on Sunday.

Motta is set to make his debut next weekend against Empoli.

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