In eight years from Serie D to the Champions League: Zirkzee knows the new coach

Vincenzo Italiano is the new head coach of Bologna. The newly qualified Champions League participant introduced the Italian on Wednesday afternoon as the successor to Thiago Motta. As a result, Dutch players Joshua Zirkzee, Sam Beukema, and Sydney van Hooijdonk now know who they will be working with next season.

SoccerDino, Website Writer
Published: 04:22, 5 Jun 2024

Since 2021, Italiano has been at the helm of Fiorentina. With that club, he reached the final of the Conference League, but the Italian mid-table team was narrowly defeated in extra time by Olympiakos Piraeus (0-1).

That turned out to be the last significant achievement of the coach with the club, as he did not extend his contract and will now take charge at Bologna. He signed a contract until mid-2026.

During his tenure at Fiorentina, Italiano garnered a reputation for his tactical acumen and ability to maximize the potential of his squad. His team's run to the Conference League final was marked by impressive performances, and although they fell short, the journey highlighted his capability to compete on the European stage. His decision to move on from Fiorentina was influenced by a desire for new challenges and the opportunity to take Bologna to new heights.

The 46-year-old Italiano, born in Karlsruhe, Germany, will be managing his sixth club. He started his career at the modest Vigontina (Serie D) and gradually climbed his way up to the national top tier. Via Arzignano (Serie D), Trapani (Serie C), Spezia (Serie B), and Fiorentina (Serie A), he has now reached the Champions League, where he will debut with Bologna. His rise through the ranks of Italian football has been a testament to his skill and determination, earning him respect and recognition across the league.

At Bologna, Italiano will face the challenge of balancing domestic league commitments with the demands of European competition. His progressive approach to coaching, which emphasizes attacking football and developing young talent, is expected to bring a fresh perspective to the team. Bologna's qualification for the Champions League marks a significant milestone in the club's history, and Italiano's leadership will be crucial in navigating this new terrain.

Zirkzee, Beukema, and the returning Van Hooijdonk, after an unsuccessful loan period, will work with a talented coach who is considered a progressive thinker in Italy. Italiano achieved promotions from Serie C and B, reached the Coppa Italia final, and made it to the Conference League final twice. His ability to guide teams through various competitive levels and his track record of success make him an exciting appointment for Bologna.

With Bologna, the journey from Serie D to the Champions League will be completed in a span of eight years. This rapid ascent highlights the club's ambitions and the strategic investments made in its development. Under Italiano's guidance, Bologna will aim to establish itself as a formidable presence in both domestic and European competitions. The expectations are high, but the club's faith in Italiano's vision and expertise suggests a promising future.

The players, particularly the Dutch contingent of Zirkzee, Beukema, and Van Hooijdonk, can look forward to working under a coach known for his ability to develop talent and implement effective strategies. As Bologna prepares for the upcoming season, the anticipation is building around how Italiano will shape the team and what they can achieve together on this new stage.

Updated: 04:22, 5 Jun 2024