Tito Vilanova Leaving As Barcelona Manager After Cancer RelapseS

In a press conference, FC Barcelona just announced that manager Francesc "Tito" Vilanova is leaving the club. He was diagnosed with cancer of the parotid gland in 2011. He only missed 18 days then, but last year he relapsed and missed two months of his first campaign as Barcelona manager last season while undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy in the New York.

Vilanova, 44, was an assistant manager for Barcelona under Pep Guardiola from 2008-2012, and then took over for Guardiola as manager. Last season, Barcelona were on a record-breaking run in La Liga and looked favorite to win the Champions League as well until December, when he found he'd relapsed during a routine checkup on the same day one of Barcelona's players, Eric Abidal, rejoined training after missing time due to liver cancer.

His absence clearly affected the team, which is famously close-knit. The side struggled a bit when Jordi Roura managed in his stead, but still recovered to win La Liga with 100 points, which equaled Real Madrid's 2011-2012 record for the most ever. They also advanced to the Champions League semifinal, where they lost to eventual champions FC Bayern.

According to The Guardian, assistant Joan Francesc Ferrer will take over as interim manager as Barcelona search for a full-time replacement. Ferrer, widely called Rubi, joined Barcelona just last month as Vilanova's assistant.

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[The Guardian]