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Vilanova Expected to Stand Down as Barca Coach Due to Health Concerns

Barcelona will make a statement later today in which coach Tito Vilanova is expected to stand aside amid fears over his health. Earlier Wednesday, the club suspended its schedule of media activities as it emerged that Vilanova had suffered a relapse of cancer in his salivary gland. The 44-year-old had undergone a successful surgery to remove the tumor last November, before replacing Pep Guardiola as first team coach in the summer.

Barca released a statement in the morning saying promising to make a further statement regarding the incident towards the end of the day. Vilanova has guided the Catalan giant to its best-ever start to a La Liga season, claiming 46 points out of a possible 48 after its first 16 games.

Despite a lack of confirmation from Barcelona about the reports, which emerged from newspapers in Spain, support for the Vilanova has flooded in, including from rival club Real Madrid. "Real Madrid want to express their support and best wishes for the coach of FC Barcelona, Tito Vilanova, and wish him a very rapid recovery. Real Madrid offer their support to his club and to all his family," read statement from the official Real Madrid Web site. Real Betis, Barca midfielder Xavi, tennis star Rafael Nadal, and MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo have all tweeted their support for Vilanova. 

Read the whole story at Independent »

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