Sinisa Mihajlovic passed away after a battle with leukemia.

Italian football icon Sinisa Mihajlovic has died at the age of 53 after a long battle with leukemia.

After the sad news was confirmed on Friday, tributes immediately began to flood in for the former player and manager, who had a reputation for scoring prolific free kicks.

Mihajlović announced in July 2019 that he had been diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia, but retained his position as manager of Bologna during treatment, until he stepped down in September 2022.

He battled the disease while leading Serie A, undergoing a bone marrow transplant and three rounds of chemotherapy in the process.

Mihajlovic returned to Bologna for his second spell as manager in January, having managed the club a decade ago from 2008 to 2009.

In between, he spent time in the dugout with Sampdoria, Milan, Torino and Sporting CP in Portugal. He also spent a year managing the Serbian national team from 2012 to 2013.

His impressive managerial career was followed by an equally distinguished playing career. Mihajlović, a defender by trade, was capped 63 times for Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2003, while having a particularly prolific career in the Italian top flight.

After rising to fame with Red Star Belgrade, he moved to Roma in 1992. From there, Mihajlovic spent four years with Sampdoria before signing for Lazio in 1998. Winning the Coppa Italia, UEFA Cup Winners Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Super Coppa Italia over time.

He won his second and final Serie A crown in the autumn of his career with Inter in 2005/06, retiring at the end of that season with a reputation as one of football’s greatest free-kick takers. happened The Serbian still holds the record for scoring the most free kicks in Serie A, scoring a staggering 28 throughout his career.

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