Sinisa Mihajlovic: The ‘beautiful years’ of the Lazio supporter

A year after the death of respected footballer Sinisa Mihajlovic, his wife Arianna Rapaccioni has spoken out about his time at Lazio, referring to it as “the best years”. In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Rapaccioni fondly remembered the period from 1998 to 2004, invoking family moments, the fans, and Mihajlovic’s impressive football career.

Mihajlovic is well-known for his love for Lazio, having once said, “I am biancoceleste. For what I have won and for what the Lazio fans have given me. I respect Rome and its supporters, but I am Lazio.”

His wife reiterated this sentiment, saying, “That’s when we created everything. The Lazio years from 98 to 2004. In ’98, our second daughter was born, followed by the 2000 championship win, the third and fourth children. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lazio fans who do so much to remember my husband.”

Family affairs and a successful football career intertwined, making the Serbian a true icon for Lazio. Mihajlovic’s contribution during the title-winning season was substantial, he recorded numbers previously untouched in Italy, neither in appearances nor in goals scored (13 in all competitions).

One of the key attributes in Mihajlovic’s gameplay was his ability to execute launches of up to 60 metres, which greatly benefitted speedy attackers. Also, Sinisa was known for his incredible penalty kicks, a skill praised by many, including Angelo Peruzzi who expressed relief upon his arrival to Lazio, stating he was glad to not face Mihajlovic’s formidable free-kicks as an opponent anymore.

Despite often appearing angry on the field, Mihajlovic was known for his extreme determination. There was never a game where he rested on his laurels, and he surprisingly never hesitated to share a laugh with his opponents too.

Back in the 2000-01 season during a Lazio-Perugia game, Perugia’s goalkeeper Mazzantini approached him before a penalty kick and confidently said, “I will block it anyway”. Unfazed, Sinisa scored the goal, turned to Mazzantini and affectionately tapped him in response.

Remembering the great Sinisa Mihajlovic, Arianna Rapaccioni’s reminiscences bring to life the enduring legacy of a footballer who left an indelible mark both on and off the pitch.

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