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The crazy and concerning past of Joe Hart's new manager at Torino

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Football News

At the time of writing, Joe Hart is on his way to Italy to complete a medical that, ultimately, will see him join Torino FC on loan.

The idea of England's number one moving to the side that finished 12th in Serie A last season would have been unthinkable just a few months ago. However, Pep Guardiola's arrival in the Manchester City dug out this summer has seen Hart ushered toward the exit door.

Rock and a hard place

Although he'll be disappointed to be leaving City for the season, Hart may actually be happy to get away from Guardiola after events over the past few weeks. However, once he reads up about Torino's 'colourful' manager, Sinisa Mihajlovic, he might be looking for the next flight back to Manchester.


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Mihajlovic, a 47-year-old Serbian, was known throughout his playing days for Red Star Belgrade and a host of Serie A clubs as a tough-talking, no-nonsense centre back/defensive midfielder with a penchant for world-class free kicks.

Unlike others in that mould, however, the man The Guardian once described as having the perception of being a neo-fascist is no stranger to crossing the line.

Both his playing and subsequent managerial career are littered with instances of ill-discipline, police investigations, dictator-like management style and even one instance of alleged racial abuse.


Sent off no fewer than nine times during spells with Roma, Sampdoria, Lazio and Inter Milan, the former Yugoslavia international was a volatile character.

However, two incidents in particular - both involving Premier League clubs - may well have the alarm bells ringing when Joe Hart goes to shake Mihajlovic's hand.

First, in 2000, Mihajlovic and Lazio were facing Arsenal in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League when things turned nasty after the final whistle.

According to The Guardian, the current Torino manager repeatedly called Patrick Vieira "a f*****g black monkey" in a heated exchange. He was investigated by Italian police because of the incident and subsequently handed a two-game ban by UEFA.

He only escaped further punishment - which could have included jail time - because Vieira decided against pressing charges.

The incident is included in this YouTube run down of football's 'Bad Boys'. Skip to around the 3:30 mark...

The second unsavoury incident, this time against Chelsea in 2003, actually ended with Mihajlovic receiving an even sterner punishment from UEFA.

It was Romanian striker Adrian Mutu who was the victim as the red mist descended on Mihajlovic - the defender-turned-manager spitting on the Chelsea striker after Lazio were humiliated 4-0 by their English opponents.

Unsurprisingly, his actions landed him a lengthy eight-game ban from the competition.

Pep Guardiola may have left Joe Hart frustrated after being benched at the Etihad, but at least he wasn't having to deal with a man who has alleged racial abuse and spitting on his CV.


Oh, and Mihajlovic isn't a stranger to controversy away from the pitch either. He once paid for tributes in the Belgrade press for a notorious warlord who had died in 2000.

These incidents listed above all happened at the turn of the century so, surely, he has changed his ways and calmed down in his older age?

Well, that might not be the case judging by his spell as boss of the Serbian national team between 2012-13.

Such is his patriotism that, upon taking the job, Mihajlovic insisted on all members of his squads signing a code-of-conduct that included the requirement for all players to sing the national anthem before games.

When one player, Adem Ljajić, failed to do so one month into the manager's reign he was duly dropped from the squad altogether. Clearly, the current Torino boss is not a man you cross.

It remains to be seen how Joe Hart adapts to life in Serie A if his move to Torino does go through in the next 24 hours or so.

One thing is for sure, though, working with his new boss certainly won't be an experience he forgets in a hurry.

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Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
England Football
Premier League
Joe Hart
Manchester City

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