Sinisa Mihajlovic, gentleman free-kick, has died aged 53

Former defender for Sampdoria, Inter Milan and the two clubs in Rome, who in his time was considered one of the best free-kick takers in the world, Sinisa Mihajlovic died of leukemia at the age of 53.

He had been fighting the disease for three years. Sinisa Mihajlovic, who made public his fight against leukemia in 2019, died at the age of 53. It was his family who announced the very sad news on Friday.

“His wife Arianna, his children Viktorija, Virginia, Miroslav, Dusan and Nikolas, his granddaughter Violante, his mother Vikyorija and his brother Drazen, communicate in pain the unjust and untimely death of their exemplary husband, father, son and brother, Sinisa Mihajlovic An exceptional man, an extraordinary professional, helpful and kind to everyone. He fought bravely against a terrible disease. We thank the doctors and nurses who followed him over the years with love and respect…. Sinisa will always be with us “, her family said.

Born in 1969 in Yugoslavia, from a Croatian mother and a Serbian father, Sinisa Mihajlovic started his career as a player in his native country before arriving in Italy in 1992, where he became a reference in defense and one of the best free- kickers in football history. He passed by the two clubs in Rome and also made the heyday of Sampdoria and Inter Milan.

A huge track record

He will have built up an impressive track record with in particular three titles as champion in Yugoslavia (one with Vojvodina and two with the Red Star in Belgrade), two titles as champion in Italy (in 2000 with Lazio and in 2006 with Inter), but also four Italian cups (two with Lazio and two with Inter). He also won the European Cup of Champion Clubs, forerunner of the Champions League, with Etoile Rouge in 1991, and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1999 with Inter.

Record holder for the number of goals scored from free kicks in Serie A (28), notably with a hat-trick achieved in this exercise with Lazio against Samp in 1998, he also played in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 with Yugoslavia. After retiring in 2006, he started his new coaching career as Roberto Mancini’s assistant at Inter Milan, before chaining experiences as number one: Bologna, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, AC Milan, Torino, Sporting … He also briefly managed the Serbian team between 2012 and 2013.

It was in July 2019, when he was the coach of Bologna, that he revealed that he was suffering from leukemia. “I have leukemia. I spent the night crying and I still have tears today. But don’t be afraid. I’m going to the hospital and I’m going to start fighting,” he declares. He had remained in office in Bologna during his many treatments for the disease. In March last year, he had to be readmitted due to the risk of relapse. Bologna had decided to thank him in September.

When his death was announced on Friday, several clubs and players paid tribute to him on social networks. “You have always been a warrior and I know how hard you fought. I want to thank you for always believing in me and for everything you have said to me since the first day we met. You will always be in my heart”, reacted in particular Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was launched by Mihajlovic in Milan.

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