World football was shocked today with the news that Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova has stepped down as Barca coach, due to a second relapse in his fight against throat cancer.
Tito, who was first diagnosed in November 2011 with the disease and then saw it return in December 2012, missed most of last season due to the illness. After being told that the cancer was back, Tito Vilanova told the club that he was stepping down so that he could devote all his time and energy to fighting the disease.
Barca President Sandro Rosell and sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta held as press conference tonight and Rosell said to a packed Press room, which included the Barcelona first team and coaching staff sitting in the first few rows.
“We are appearing here before you today to give you some news that I would never in my life have wanted to say and to be very, very precise, I am going to read part of it.”
“After evaluating the results of routine checks this week monitoring Tito Vilanova, the option has arisen of him undergoing treatment for his illness that will make it incompatible for him to continue acting as the Coach of the first team of Barcelona.
“I would ask you for the utmost respect and privacy for Tito Vilanova and his family for what he will have to now go through.
“I would also like to confirm that Vice-President Josep Maria Bartomeu and sporting director Zubizarreta will be presenting a new Coach early next week.”
The President also confirmed that the club have also pulled out of tomorrow’s previously scheduled opening friendly of preseason, which was due to be played in Poland against Lechia Gdansk.
“We have spoken with all of the players and decided not to go and play in Poland tomorrow, we are in no mood to do so, so the game has been suspended.
“This club has taken many blows and has always bounced back. We think of the people first and the club after.”Barcelona have confirmed that Tito Vilanova is stepping down as Coach, having suffered a second relapse in his fight against throat cancer.
Barca are expected to promote Joan Francesc Ferrer, known as Rubi, into a caretaker capacity. The 43-year-old joined Barca’s coaching staff last month as an assistant to Vilanova and Jordi Roura – who took charge of the first team when Vilanova was absent last season.
Rubi was head coach of Girona last term and led the club to the Segunda Division play-offs, where they lost to Almeria to miss out on a place in the top flight for the first time in their history.
The 43-year-old had penned a one-year contract with Barca with the option for a second season and took up his post earlier this week as the first team reported back for pre-season training.