Virtus Bologna has fired coach Sergio Scariolo, who is also Spain’s national coach, a few days before the start of the Italian League and the Euroleague. The trigger has been some public comments by the 62-year-old Italian coach, questioning the quality and changes in the squad for the next campaign. The clash with the board had been going on since the end of last year. “The coach’s statements released to the press on September 13, 2023, which follow those at the end of the season on June 27, unfortunately undermine the serenity and enthusiasm of the club’s environment and the group that is preparing to face the first official commitments of the new sports season with the aim of achieving important results both nationally and internationally,” Virtus said in a statement.
Scariolo commented that he was “trying to get to know the team and the new players.” “The offensive quality is lower,” said the coach about the losses of Milos Teodosic, who is leaving for Red Star, and Iffe Lundberg, who according to the coach will not continue at Virtus “due to a company decision.” “Someone will have to be able to create from nothing,” said the coach about Teodosic’s goodbye. And he was blunt about Lundberg: “It’s up to the company to decide. These are decisions based on the balance of the available measurements. “You have to adapt.” Regarding the team’s objectives for this course, Scariolo also referred to the offices. “It is a question for the institution. The club gave me the team and I receive it with the desire to make it competitive. The team is built by the club. “A lot of players will need to take a step forward in terms of personality.” Those comments angered the club’s owner, Massimo Zanetti, who has given his thumbs down.
Scariolo came to Virtus in 2021 after being an assistant with the Toronto Raptors, and winning the NBA ring two years earlier on a team in which Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka played. In Bologna, a new European stop in a career that in the ACB league included Baskonia, Real Madrid and Unicaja, he achieved two Italian Super Cups and the 2022 Eurocup, and with it the ticket for the Euroleague. The current break puts an end to that stage of which the coach himself already anticipated the end. In an interview with EL PAÍS after ninth place in the World Cup, Scariolo revealed that the Spanish Federation has proposed extending the contract that ends after Paris 2024 until the next Olympic cycle. The coach was satisfied with that proposal and willing to renew his link with the national team, and left it up in the air whether from next summer he would continue combining “the two assignments”, that of Spain and that of a club.
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