independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Tito Vilanova set to leave Barcelona due to illness

Tito Vilanova

Barcelona have called a press conference for this evening amid reports coach Tito Vilanova is going to step down.

Club president Sandro Rosell and director of the football Andoni Zubizarreta will address the media at 8.30pm local time tonight, the Catalans announced on their official website.

Vilanova only took over from Pep Guardiola last summer, but missed a chunk of the season after undergoing treatment for cancer in the United States.

It has been reported that Joan Francesc Ferrer, known as "Rubi", may be in line to take over.

Ferrer led Girona to the second division playoffs last season and was appointed Vilanova's assistant for the coming campaign to help with technical analysis of Barca's rivals.

Vilanova succeeded his close friend Pep Guardiola at the end of the 2011-12 season after Guardiola - now coach of Bayern Munich - decided to take a year out from football.

The pair, who were at Barca's academy together and coached the B side before stepping up to the first team in 2008, led the club on a spectacular four-year run including two Champions League crowns and three La Liga titles.

Last season, Vilanova helped Barca to a fourth La Liga success in five years as they equalled Real Madrid's record points haul from the previous term.

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