Catalan daily sports newspaper Sport and several other outlets report that FC Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova, who has spent the last two weeks at the Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York receiving further treatment for his parotid gland cancer, is expected to remain in the United States until the end of March. When Vilanova’s relapse was announced, it was hoped that he would be back by the end of January, but recovery has been more difficult than expected. Vilanova will miss several key matches, including Real Madrid’s trip to the Camp Nou for the return leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final and both Champions League ties against AC Milan.
Jordi Roura has been a capable assistant coach, but Vilanova’s presence on the bench and his tactical acumen may be missed. His willingness to make bold, game-changing substitutions has helped rescue several last-minute victories for the blaugrana. Perhaps he would have been able to help Barça deal the killing blow to Real Madrid on Wednesday. Still, the most important thing is that Vilanova takes the time to rest, continue with his chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions, and recover as fully as possible. In the meantime, totalBarça, FC Barcelona, and cules everywhere will be wishing him a safe return to health.
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