Sinisa Mihajlovic continues as Bologna manager despite leukemia diagnosis
A press conference on Saturday saw Sinisa Mihajlovic confirming his leukemia diagnosis
In an upsetting press conference held by the Bologna manager, Sinisa Mihajlovic confirmed that leaked reports of him being diagnosed with leukemia were true. Italian football journalists assumed that he would be forced into standing down from his duties at the club. Instead, he's bravely vowed to continue in his job, with hopes that it could help his fight against the illness.
He was understandably horrified that the press had leaked his condition before he was able to decide how best to address it. He said: "Unfortunately, [privacy] did not happen, not everyone respected it, and in order to sell a few more hundred copies, they ruined a long-term friendship." After briefly expressing his disgust at the actions of some journalists who he once saw as friends, Mihajlovic went on to speak of the immense support he's gained from across Italy.
His situation is more worrying after his father died from cancer, but due to the nature of his father's passing, he made it his aim to go through regular checks, leading to the early discovery of what the Bologna club doctor labels an 'acute leukemia'. The doctor, who joined him in the press conference, said: "We have the tools to ensure a complete cure. We can talk about a coach who can work, can train, can affect what happens on the field and in the dressing room." His fierce reaction to the diagnosis will allow him to remain involved with most of his usual duties at the club, but he will miss a lot of the upcoming season in order to have extensive treatment.
Brave announcement sparks waves of support for Sinisa Mihajlovic
Best known for playing over 100 games for both Sampdoria and Lazio, Sinisa Mihajlovic started his coaching career as the assistant to former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini at Inter Milan in 2006. He then had his first break at Bologna, before spending periods at Catania, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, AC Milan, Torino, Sporting Lisbon, and even being given the honour of managing the Serbian national team. The dismissal of Filippo Inzaghi led to a second chance at Bologna for Sinisa Mihajlovic at the start of 2019, where he's won nine and drawn three of seventeen games to present signs of life before the end of the campaign.
Fans of the club were excited over what the future held under Mihajlovic, but the leukemia diagnosis obviously put things into perspective. In his press conference, he said: "When I got the news, it was a real blow...I sat there for days crying. Your life passes by your eyes. These are not tears of fear. I respect the illness. I will face it with chest puffed out, looking it in the eyes, the way I always have done. I cannot wait to go to hospital and start the fight. It is aggressive, but it is beatable."
Support came in for Sinisa Mihajlovic as soon as people heard of his condition, with the manager saying that at least 700 messages came his way after the official announcement. After spending two years together at Inter Milan, Roberto Mancini was front of the queue with his good wishes. Hoping to lighten the mood, he said: "You're too strong. This won't scare you, and besides, we need to go play paddleboard afterwards!"
Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport offered Sinisa Mihajlovic with the opportunity to publish his feelings after receiving a numerous amount of messages from friends, family, fans, and merely those who could sympathise with the former defender. He said: "There are moments in life when you find yourself fighting against an opponent who is difficult to beat or facing a problem that is complicated to resolve. I am going through such a moment right now, but I feel very fortunate because I know that I am not alone. I discovered that, alongside me, I have enough support.
"Over the last few days, I have been swept up by a sea of affection, solidarity and positive energy that gave me an incredible boost and the certainty that I will win this battle against leukemia..I received thousands of messages. I can assure you, I read them all, one by one. All of them represented for me a caress, an embrace, and it touched my heart...Thank you to ex-teammates and opponents from my years as a player, my players that I've trained today, and even those who I never guided, and yet, they still said: "Forza Mister."
At the end of his lengthy statement, the Bologna manager concluded: "Thank you, thank you, thank you. You moved me. I've run out of tears. Now, I am ready to fight. We'll see each other soon - Sinisa Mihajlovic."
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