Italy boss Roberto Mancini and Blerim Dzemaili rallied around Bologna head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic following his leukaemia diagnosis.
Mihajlovic revealed his leukaemia battle in a news conference on Saturday, with his Bologna contract to remain in place while treatment begins.
The 50-year-old Serb – who led Bologna in 2008-09 – returned to the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara in January amid the threat of relegation and preserved the club’s Serie A status.
Mancini and Mihajlovic played together at Sampdoria and Lazio before the latter worked as the Italian’s assistant at Inter in 2006.
And in a social media post, Mancini sent Mihajlovic – who won two Serie A titles as a player – an encouraging message.
“You’re too strong, this won’t scare you and besides we need to go play paddleboard afterwards,” Mancini wrote via Instagram.
Meanwhile, Bologna captain Dzemaili said Mihajlovic is “like a father” following the news.
“The coach will win this battle for us too, as we feel like we are his family,” Dzemaili told Sky Sport Italia.
“What he has given us over the last six months has rarely been given by any coach, especially in such a short space of time. We know what kind of person he is, how strong he is and we’ll try to transmit our strength to him too. We can’t wait until he returns.”
“I will win this battle.”
Forza Sinisa pic.twitter.com/bcA5xQycn1
— Bologna FC 1909 (@BolognaFC1909en) July 13, 2019
Mihajlovic will begin treatment on Tuesday and Bologna doctor Gianni Nanni added: “The coach talked about leukaemia, which 20 years ago we might not even have talked about challenging.
“Now that we have the tools to ensure a complete cure, we can talk about a coach who can work, can train, can affect what happens on the field and in the dressing room.
“There are times when he won’t be with the team, as he’ll be in hospital for treatment, starting from Tuesday, but the treatment has changed a great deal over the last few years and is absolutely effective. It is now an illness that can be faced and can be beaten, even in a short period of time.”