FC Barcelona’s Manager Tito Vilanova Has Cancer

Tito Vilanova

Barcelona’s head coach, Tito Vilanova, has cancer and will have surgery on a saliva gland on Thursday followed by six weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Vilanova was first diagnosed in November 2011, when he was Pep Guadiola’s assistant manager at the club. His condition was uncovered on Tuesday after a routine check-up, which was then followed by further test that revealed the cancer had returned.

Sandro Rosell, Barcelona’s president, stated that the coach will be absent for ‘a few weeks,’ before adding, “Tito is very strong. He has shown that before and we hope that he will be back with us very soon.”

Jordi Roura, Vilanova’s assistant, will take charge of the first team until he returns, with his first game in charge coming at Valladolid on Saturday Night.

Andoni Zubizarreta, Barcelona’s sporting director, said, “Tito is, Tito was, and Tito will continue to be our coach. Jordi will sit on the bench in Valladolid but Tito is our coach. We will continue as naturally as possible. Tito is not here, Jordi is. All of [Tito’s] team is.”

Rosell and Zubizarreta broke the news to the players on Wednesday evening, before then releasing a formal statement and holding a press conference together, at which he dismissed rumors that the club had asked Vilanova’s predecessor, Pep Guardiola, to return to the position.

Vilanova, who missed work for just 18 days when his tumour was removed in November 2011, has lead Barcelona to 15 wins and one draw in his opening 16 league games in charge of the club, a Spanish record.