Barcelona’s coach, Tito Vilanova, has suffered a relapse of the cancer in the parotid saliva gland that was first diagnosed in November 2011 when he was Pep Guardiola’s assistant. He will have surgery on Thursday and is expected to be off work for a few weeks but there are no plans for the 44-year-old to stand down.
A routine check-up in Barcelona on Tuesday was followed by further tests which revealed the return of cancer. Vilanova will be in hospital for three to four days after surgery and then undergo a six-week treatment of radiotherapy and chemotherapy but doctors say that he may be able to continue working during that time.
Although there was no formal prognosis as to how long it will be before Vilanova will be able to return to the job, Barcelona’s president, Sandro Rosell, talked of the coach being absent for “a few weeks”.
Rosell said: “Tito is very strong. He has shown that before and we hope that he will be back with us very soon.”
In the meantime, the Barcelona first team will be coached by Vilanova’s assistant Jordi Roura, starting at Valladolid on Saturday night. Barcelona do not plan to make any long-term decisions. “We will wait for him,” Rosell said of Vilanova…
Zubizarreta was asked if there had been any contact with Guardiola about taking over, even if only temporarily. He responded simply: “No, at no point.” He added: “Right now, the sporting side of things is secondary. Do we want to win in Valladolid? Of course. Not least because Tito wants us to win. I am sure that Tito will watch the game on the television – and I am sure he will be correcting things. But that is not important now.”…
Real Madrid released an official statement offering Vilanova their support – before Barcelona had made any formal announcement. At 5.30pm Adriá Vilanova, Tito’s son, sent a message by Twitter thanking everyone for their support and adding: “Everything will be OK.”
Vilanova had a tumour removed from his parotid gland in November 2011 and underwent radio therapy and chemotherapy. He returned to work after just 18 days and at the end of last season was given the first-team manager’s job after Guardiola’s decision to resign. He has enjoyed a record-breaking start as Barcelona manager, winning 15 and drawing one of the team’s opening 16 league games…read more
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