FC Barcelona have announced that coach Tito Vilanova will undergo surgery on Thursday, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy over the next six weeks, after the relapse of a cancer in the salivary (or parotid) gland. The 44-year-old is expected to be hospitalised for three or four days after the operation.
Vilanova first had surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from the salivary gland in November 2011 but has now suffered a recurrence. Barcelona gave the following statement: "An extension of the pathology has been detected, requiring surgical intervention. It is estimated [the coach] will be in hospital for three to four days. After that, Tito Vilanova will undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy lasting about six weeks. During that time, and according to his progress, he could combine treatment with working life."
The former Barcelona youth-teamer and RC Celta de Vigo midfielder stepped up from his role assisting Josep Guardiola to take the reins as head coach in June, following Guardiola's departure. He has since guided Barça to the best-ever start to a Spanish Liga campaign – comprising 15 wins from 16 games – and successfully steered the team into the UEFA Champions League's last 16.
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