Barcelona Coach Tito Vilanova Announces His Resignation Due To Throat Cancer
FC Barcelona President SANDRO ROSELL and Sporting Dir ANDONI ZUBIZARRETA on Friday announced that coach TITO VILANOVA will not be able to perform his managerial duties as he undergoes further treatment for cancer. Rosell said, "After evaluating the results from the routine check-ups, which Tito Vilanova underwent this week, he was presented with the option to continue treatment to control his illness which will make it impossible to continue his responsibilities as the first team manager of the senior side" (FC Barcelona). SPORT reported Spain PM MARIANO RAJOY sent Vilanova a message via his Twitter account. Rajoy tweeted, "Tito Vilanova, I send you my support and encouragement to win this new battle you are facing. The example of overcoming that you represent is a reference for everyone" (SPORT, 7/20).
OPEN LETTER: Vilanova addressed the club and its fans in a letter published on the team's website. Vilanova: "The treatments that I am going to have to undergo from now on does not make it recommendable, in the doctors’ opinion, for me to dedicate 100% of my effort to being the first team manager of a team as demanding as FC Barcelona. ... It is not easy to leave such a special group of people, the players, my fellow staff and friends with whom I have shared so many unforgettable experiences. I am eternally grateful for everything that they have given and shown to me" (FC Barcelona).
REPLACEMENT ANNOUNCEMENT: In Madrid, Quixano & Martín reported it is "now the Sporting Dir [Zubizarreta] who has to decide on the owner of the bench, who will underline or rewrite the club's playing philosophy." The club, "in any case, is only considering three coaches:" La Liga side Celta Vigo coach LUIS ENRIQUE, Argentine first division side Newell's coach GERARDO MARTINO and Premier League Tottenham manager ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS. Zubizarreta will on Tuesday announce the club's decision (EL PAIS, 7/20).