Former Barcelona Vilanova dies at the age of 45. Vilanova, who had first been detected with a cancerous tumor of the throat in November 2011, footsteped down as Barcelona coach in July 2013. He succeeded Pep Guardiola, who is now Bayern Munich coach, in June 2012 and led the Catalan giants to the Spanish La Liga title during his time in charge of the team. Subsequent the declaration of Vilanova’s death, Barcelona said it would open an area of commiseration in the main grandstand at its Nou Camp stadium. “It will be open to anyone who wishes to express their sympathy and love for the late Tito Vilanova,” the club added.
“The club wishes to express its most heartfelt sympathy to his family, who are being joined in these moments of mourning by FC Barcelona members and fans all around the world, as well as the rest of the footballing and sporting world.” Barcelona also opend plans for a religious memorial ritual in the coming days. The club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on this Twitter page: “Tito Vilanova was a wonderful person, and will never be forgotten at FC Barcelona. Thank you for everything you taught us. Rest in peace.” Barcelona player Cesc Fabregas paid tribute on his Facebook page saying he met Vilanova 14 years ago, adding: “Thank you for always trusting me, to help me improve and overcome personal and professional obstacles.”
There has been also tribute from the global football society. Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos comments on Twitter that Vilanova was, “An example of fighting and strength for all of us. RIP” Vilanova’s appointment after Guardiola’s resignation came as something of a surprise to football experts. He was not well known outside Spain but was previously a close member of the Barcelona family. He began his footballing career at the Catalan club, signing to the team’s junior ranks as a 15-year-old. Unable to break into the Barcelona first team, he left to follow a career as a midfielder with seven clubs in his native Spain before ending his playing days with Gramenet in 2001. A switch to management followed and Vilanova soon revisited to the Nou Camp, ultimately becoming Guardiola’s assistant coach in 2008 before being named as his successor. In tandem, the pair won three La Liga titles and two European Champions League crowns.