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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Vilanova set to step down

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova is to resign his position amid reports he has suffered a cancer relapse.

Tito Vilanova.
Vilanova had undergone cancer treatment during the 2012-13 season.

Barcelona have confirmed via a statement on their official website that a press conference is to be held on Friday evening.

The statement read: “This Friday at 20:30, there will be a press conference featuring president Sandro Rosell and director of football Andoni Zubizarreta in the press room at the Ciudad Deportiva.”

ESPN FC columnist Graham Hunter told Sky Sports News: “Off the record, the directors are briefing that Tito Vilanova has come to them following the regular check-ups that you would expect for somebody who has had such intense radiotherapy and chemotherapy to fight off a cancerous tumour in his saliva gland.

“It’s been affecting him now for 18 months, maybe a little bit more, and the check-ups have shown that there is a renewed problem.”

Vilanova, 44, took charge of Barca following Pep Guardiola’s resignation at the end of the 2011-12 season, and led the club to the league title.

However, his debut campaign was overshadowed by the news in December that he had suffered a relapse of the parotid gland cancer that had been diagnosed the previous year. He returned to Spain in March, having undergone treatment in New York.

It is thought that Vilanova’s assistant, Rubi, is the most likely candidate to take the reins. Rubi was in charge of Girona in the Segunda Division last season, leading the team to the play-off final.


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