x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Former Barcelona coach Vilanova dies after battle with cancer

Former assistant under Pep Guardiola carried on predecessor's winning tradition

Former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, pictured at a news conference on April 30, 2013, has died after a battle with throat cancer. Lluis Gene / AFP
Former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, pictured at a news conference on April 30, 2013, has died after a battle with throat cancer. Lluis Gene / AFP

BARCELONA, Spain // Tito Vilanova, the coach who succeeded Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and won the Spanish league title in his only season in charge, died Friday following a long battle with throat cancer. He was 45.

Vilanova, who has been fighting a recurring tumor in a saliva gland, was admitted to a local hospital in Barcelona last week.

He took over at the Nou Camp ahead of the 2012-13 season, having been Guardiola’s assistant during the most successful period in the club’s history, during which they won three out of four Primera Liga titles and two Uefa Champions Leagues in 2009 and 2011.

Barca went on to make the best-ever start to a league season with 18 wins from 19 games but, in December 2012, Vilanova was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. It meant that his assistant Jordi Roura was forced to take charge of the team on occasions when he was undergoing treatment.

At the end of the season, Vilanova announced he was resigning to concentrate on his recovery from the illness. Gerardo Martino succeeded him as Barcelona coach.

Vilanova is survived by his wife, Montse Chaure, and two children. His son Adrian is currently in Barcelona’s youth academy.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter at @SprtNationalUAE