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Tito Vilanova resumes cancer fight

Cancer-stricken Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova quit on Friday to undergo further treatment for his illness, the president of the Spanish champions, Sandro Rosell, said.

Tito Vilanova
Tito Vilanova. Pic/AFP

The 44-year-old Vilanova had a tumour removed from a salivary gland in his throat in November 2011 and in December 2012 he suffered a relapse. He underwent surgery again followed by 10 weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in New York.

Vilanova returned to the helm of Barcelona in March and led the club to the Spanish league title. “After evaluating the results of routine rests this week Tito Vilanova has been presented with the option of carrying out a treatment to continue to control his illness which will make it incompatible to carry out the role of first team coach from now on,” Rosell told a news conference.

Jordi Roura, Carles Puyol, Lionel Messi and Jose Manuel Pinto
Barcelona’s assistant coach Jordi Roura, Carles Puyol, Lionel Messi and Jose Manuel Pinto look on during the press conference. Pic/Getty Images

“I want to ask everyone, especially the media, in the name of his family to show the maximum respect for the privacy of the whole process which will start now,” he added. Vilanova’s replacement will be announced “probably in the beginning of next week,” Rosell said.

Club officials met with the squad and the team decided they would not travel to Poland to face Lechia Gdansk in a pre-season friendly on Saturday, he added. “There was no mood to do it,” said Rosell, who was flanked by the club’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.

Several Barcelona players, including Argintine forward Lionel Messi and veteran defender Carles Puyol, attended the press conference in their kits.

Support & encouragement pours in for Barcelona coach Vilanova

All the encouragement in the world for Tito and his family. We are all with you
- Thiago Alcantara

Tito will once again win this terrible battle facing him. On behalf of everyone, I send him all my love & support
- Andres Iniesta

Strength Tito! We are all with you in this fight
- Lionel Messi

Football is equally fleeting in its victories and defeats. All my support for Tito Vilanova and his family! Support! You are going to win this game!
- Jose Reina, former Barca goalkeeper

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