Thiago Motta to replace Mihajlović as Bologna’s coach

September 10, 2022 GMT
Bologna's Arnautovic celebrates after scoring to 2-2 during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Spezia and Bologna, at Alberto Picco stadium in La Spezia, Italy, Sunday Sept. 4, 2022. (Tano Pecoraro/LaPresse via AP)
Bologna's Arnautovic celebrates after scoring to 2-2 during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Spezia and Bologna, at Alberto Picco stadium in La Spezia, Italy, Sunday Sept. 4, 2022. (Tano Pecoraro/LaPresse via AP)
Bologna's Arnautovic celebrates after scoring to 2-2 during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Spezia and Bologna, at Alberto Picco stadium in La Spezia, Italy, Sunday Sept. 4, 2022. (Tano Pecoraro/LaPresse via AP)
Bologna's Arnautovic celebrates after scoring to 2-2 during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Spezia and Bologna, at Alberto Picco stadium in La Spezia, Italy, Sunday Sept. 4, 2022. (Tano Pecoraro/LaPresse via AP)
Bologna's Arnautovic celebrates after scoring to 2-2 during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Spezia and Bologna, at Alberto Picco stadium in La Spezia, Italy, Sunday Sept. 4, 2022. (Tano Pecoraro/LaPresse via AP)

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

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

Mihajlović was fired on Tuesday with Bologna unable to produce a win in its opening five matches. It marked the first coaching change in this season’s Serie A.

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

The Brazilian-born Motta played for PSG from 2012 to 2018 and was also a member of Italy’s national team, reaching the 2012 European Championship final with the Azzurri.

Mihajlović coached Bologna for 3½ years, becoming a sentimental favorite of fans and players alike for his desire to remain on the job even after he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2019.

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Players sometimes rallied under the 53-year-old Mihajlović’s hospital window when the coach was receiving treatment.

“It was tough because of the human relationship we created,” Fenucci said of the firing. “I consider him a friend. He’s strong. (But) we reasoned and looked at the performance of the squad this year and we saw that the team has won only four times since January. Every once in a while, a club of our financial status is relegated, so we needed to do something.”

Luca Vigiani, Bologna’s youth squad coach, will direct the team against Fiorentina on Sunday.

Motta should make his debut next weekend against Empoli.

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