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

”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.”

Mihajlovic 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.

Mihajlovic coached Bologna for 3+ 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.

Players sometimes rallied under the 53-year-old Mihajlovic’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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