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Thiago Motta: Why Man Utd, Juventus and more are being linked with miracle-working Bologna manager

When Xavi announced in February that he would be down as Barcelona coach at the end of the season, Deco, the Catalan club's sporting director, was asked if Bologna boss Thiago Motta was in the running to take over. "I don't follow Motta's work on a regular basis," the former Portugal international told La Vanguardia, "as I'm not used to following his Italian team."

It was an astonishing admission, given the remarkable job being done by Motta at Bologna had already put him on the radar of nearly every top European club considering a change of manager this summer.

Indeed, both Manchester United and Juventus are both said to have stepped up their interest in hiring the former Italy international over the past few weeks - and rightly so, with Motta on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League with a team that last appeared in continental competition 22 years ago - in the Intertoto Cup.

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