Barcelona coach Vilanova faces surgery after recurrence of cancer
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will undergo surgery today after suffering a recurrence of the cancer in his saliva glands, the club has announced.
The 44-year-old, who underwent surgery on a tumour in his glands in November last year, stepped up from his role as assistant to replace Pep Guardiola as first-team coach for this season.
Vilanova will have surgery on his parotid gland tomorrow before undergoing approximately six weeks of chemotherapy. A statement from Barcelona’s medical services last night revealed that, despite the news, Vilanova could remain in charge of the first-team squad while undergoing his treatment.
“In monitoring the process of his parotid gland, an extension of the pathology was detected, requiring surgical treatment on Thursday,” the statement on fcbarcelona.es read. “An extension of the pathology has been detected in [Vilanova’s] parotid gland. The manager requires surgery which he will undergo this Thursday. He is expected to remain in hospital for three to four days. After the surgery, Francesc “Tito” Vilanova will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment for approximately six weeks. During this time, and depending on how well he recovers, Vilanova’s treatment may be compatible with his work life.
“Keeping in line with the patient’s wishes, we urge respect and privacy during this process.”
“Very sorry to hear the news,” Barca midfielder Xavi said on his official Twitter account, as messages of support flooded in.
Former tennis world No 1 Rafa Nadal said: “All my strength and support for Tito Vilanova! We are all with you to overcome this next hurdle.” Vilanova was out of action for around three weeks after his surgery last year but returned to the dugout to help Guardiola for the last six months of the 2011-12 campaign. When he was introduced as coach in June, the quietly-spoken Catalan said the experience had left him with a different perspective on life.
“I had an important operation a few months ago,” he said. “I spoke with the medics and my family about the job, but they all said I was perfectly okay. Perhaps, after what has happened, training Barca will be like kids’ play.”
Vilanova has guided the team to the top of La Liga with 15 wins in 16 games, nine points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, and into the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners. Barca have one game left, away at Valladolid in La Liga on Saturday, before the winter break.
Real Madrid also wished Tito Vilanova a rapid recovery amid concerns over his health.
A statement on the Madrid website read: “Real Madrid want to express their support and best wishes for the coach of FC Barcelona, Tito Vilanova, and wish him a very rapid recovery. Real Madrid offer their support to his club and to all his family.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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