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Mihajlovic ready to face his past when Milan host Lazio

Sinisa Mihajlovic

The coach helped Lazio to their most successful period in club history during his time there, but all of that will be forgotten when the two teams clash at the San Siro on Sunday night.

Sunday’s match between AC Milan and Lazio is more than just another game for Rossoneri tactician Sinisa Mihajlovic considering the great results he achieved while with the Aquile back during his playing days.

In six seasons with the Biancocelesti the Serbian scored 33 goals and won seven trophies with the side, coinciding with their most successful period in history.

A Scudetto, two Coppa Italia wins, two Supercoppa Italiana’s, a Cup Winners’ Cup and a UEFA Super Cup were the haul the now tactician helped bring to the capital club.

Considering that Lazio have won fewer trophies, six, in the other 110 years of their existence, than it’s clear to see why his time at the side from 1998 to 2004 is looked at so fondly.

Of the 33 goals he scored while there, 17 came via the freekick. He famously netted three in one match, against Sampdoria, a feat that no player has ever replicated in Serie A.

One of those efforts came against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League in 1999. Christoph Daum, who coached the Germans at the time, stated that two goalkeepers were needed to stop Mihajlovic’s goal when the two sides met.

“My ideal set piece would see Sinisa take the corner kick and Sinisa fire home with a header,” his then coach Sven-Goran Eriksson once stated.

“He’s very good in the air as well. Too bad he isn’t fast enough to do both things.”

It’s no surprise the Swede spoke so fondly of the defender, as he was the one who demanded President Sergio Cragnotti sign him, and Juan Sebastian Veron, in order to win the Scudetto. Lazio paid ₤22 million to sign him, a fee that was considered quite large at that time as well.

However his time at the club was blotted by controversy as well, as he was banned for two matches after directing racist remarks at Patrick Vieira during Lazio-Arsenal.

He also received eight matches for spitting on Adrian Mutu during a 2003 match with Chelsea, though Lazio fans are more inclined to talk about his freekick strike at Stamford Bridge that saw the Biancocelesti become the first Italian side to win on Chelsea’s home ground back in March 2000.

He has only ever defeated the Aquile on one occasion as coach, a 1-0 victory while with Catania back in 2010, to go along with a draw and seven defeats, but he will no doubt be keen to better that line despite his strong affection for the Biancocelesti.