Tito Vilanova to leave Barcelona this evening
This afternoon could potentially be one of the most decisive moments in Spanish football ahead of the 2013-2014 campaign with strong reports from Spain emerging late this afternoon that FC Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will this evening announce his resignation at a press conference. The reason for this is not yet known with details of the story remaining at this time, relatively hazy. Several media outlets including ‘Mundo Deportivo’ are suggesting that Tito Vilanova’s cancer has in fact returned which is forcing Pep Guardiola’s former assistant to relinquish his duties with the Spanish Champions.
Sandro Rosell and Andoni Zubizarreta have reportedly called a press conference for 20:30 this evening in order to clarify the club’s position and make an announcement on Tito Vilanova’s future and health. Vilanova has only been in the Barcelona hot seat for one season following a five year spell as Pep Guardiola’s assistant manager for both Barcelona and Barcelona B however his spell as manager of Barcelona was disrupted last season when he was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer for the second time, in December.
Whilst the situation regarding Vilanova’s health at this current moment is unclear, Barcelona are being left in relative turmoil with the future of Cesc Fabregas still unresolved following this morning’s confirmation from Manchester United manager David Moyes, that an official bid had been made for Fabregas from the English Champions. Cesc Fabregas was known to be one of the favoured players of Tito Vilanova and his departure from Barcelona may well pave the way for the former Arsenal captain to join Manchester United.
Mundo Deportivo have confirmed that unlike last season, Vilanova is resigning from his post as Barcelona manager completely rather than being granted ‘sick leave’. This opens up the position of manager at Camp Nou with important decisions needing to be made not only on Cesc Fabregas but also the situation regarding the club’s growing need to sign a central defender to partner Gerard Pique after last season’s poor defensive displays in Europe.
In his debut season as Barcelona manager, Tito Vilanova had what can be considered a successful season with the club regaining the La Liga title from rivals Real Madrid as well as reaching the Champions League semi-final stage where they were soundly beaten by eventual winners, Bayern Munich. Vilanova possessed an 84 percent win record in La Liga last season with his side registering one hundred and fifteen League goals which was one more than in Pep Guardiola’s final season in charge.
Early indications suggest that with most club’s having returned to pre-season and with it being so near to the beginning of Barcelona’s La Liga campaign, in which they will be defending their championship, it could be considered too late to appoint a new manager and may well look to promote someone from within the club on a part-time basis. We expect to hear more information on this story from club president Sandro Rosell at this evening’s press conference.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris Winterburn on Twitter @Chriswin4