Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova has suffered from a tumor relapse and is expected to step down from the managerial role at the club.
Tito Vilanova was first diagnosed with Parotid gland cancer back in November of 2011. But he underwent a successful surgery to remove the tumor at that time and joined back as the assistant manager under Pep Guardiola.
The 44-year-old was then promoted as the first team manager after Pep Guardiola left his post in order to take a year-long sabbatical from the game in April.
Barcelona made a fantastic start to their life under Vilanova as the Catalan giants raced to a 13 points lead over Real Madrid in the league. They have also progressed to the knockout rounds of the Champions League and despite Pep’s departure, it seemed nothing has changed at the club.
Barcelona are yet to release an official statement on Vilanova, but they cancelled a press conference, in which president Sandro Rosell was about to make an appearance, and the staff Christmas party.
Barcelona released a statement earlier this morning saying:
“Barcelona announce that it is has suspended the press conference from president Sandro Rosell planned for midday. As well as that, the media Christmas lunch has been cancelled.
“Later today the club will issue a further release. Until that time we will not make any announcement about this matter.
“We regret any inconvenience this decision may cause.”
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has said that the Catalan club is already looking for a temporary replacement for Vilanova. He tweeted from his account:
“Tito hasnt been operated yet. Players will be told all this aft. Club of course looking for replacement. Now time to be prudent #animsTito”
Sadly for Barcelona this news came on a day when defender Eric Abidal was given clearance to play after his successful liver transplant. The joy of this news was short lived though.
Get-well-soon messages have flooded in social media from professional players and fans alike. Here are some of the tweets:
- Manchester City midfielder David Silva tweeted:
- Former Spain midfielder Gaizka Mendieta tweeted:
- Man City’s defensive midfielder Javi Garcia tweeted:
“All my support and best wishes to Tito and all of the people in the world fighting every day against cancer. Be strong #AnimoTito”
“Very sorry to hear the news about Tito Vila. Thoughts are with him and his family. #AnimsTito”
“We hope your recovery my friend !! Good luck Tito !! #Animstito”
Real Madrid have also released an official statement in which they have wish Tito Vilanova a quick recovery and have extended their support to his club and family. Translated from the original statement in Spanish:
“The Real Madrid CF wants to express their support, love and affection to FC Barcelona coach, Tito Vilanova, and want the quickest recovery. The Real Madrid CF extends this support your club and your family.”
Barcelona are expected to announce his replacement in a short while, but at the moment the biggest concern is the well-being of Tito Vilanova.
Animo Tito – rough translation: I support Tito
Read the first information report of this news story here.