Soccer-Motta to leave Bologna after opting not to renew contract

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Torino v Bologna - Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, Turin, Italy - May 3, 2024 Bologna coach Thiago Motta reacts REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

(Reuters) - Bologna coach Thiago Motta has opted not to renew his contract, the Serie A club said on Thursday, with the ex-Italy international set to move to Juventus, according to Italian media reports.

Motta, 41, led Bologna to Champions League qualification for the first time in their history in his second season at the club, and those exploits have put him on the radar of many of Europe's top teams.

"This morning Thiago Motta informed the club of his intention not to renew his contract with Bologna FC 1909," Bologna said in a statement.

"Having taken note of the decision, the club thanks the coach for his extraordinary work and wishes him the best of luck for the rest of his career."

Motta is expected to move to Juventus, replacing Massimiliano Allegri, who was sacked last week after his behaviour during and after the Coppa Italia final win over Atalanta was deemed "incompatible with the values of Juventus" by the club.

Bologna and Juventus drew 3-3 on Monday, with Paolo Montero taking charge after Allegri's sacking. Motta's side are third in the standings, ahead of Juventus on goal difference going into the final weekend of the season.

Motta won over Bologna fans with results and his brand of possession-based football, using an advanced press and building from the back, after much initial scepticism when he replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic in September, 2022.

His first managerial role at Genoa ended after just two months, and he then guided Spezia to Serie A survival in his one season in charge. At Bologna, Motta failed to win any of his first four games, but led them to a ninth-placed finish last season.

Bologna have been this season's surprise package, losing five games compared to 12 defeats last season, while Juventus again failed in their Scudetto bid having challenged Inter Milan in the first half of the season.

Their title bid faltered and their last 16 league games brought just two wins. Their last game of the season is at home to Monza on Saturday while Bologna are at Genoa on Friday.

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes, additional reporting by Aadi Nair; Editing by Toby Davis)

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