FC Barcelona’s first team continues to prepare for Sunday’s derbi against Espanyol at the Cornellà-El Prat (20:00). The blaugrana trained this Saturday morning at the Camp Nou in a session led by Tito Vilanova. The coach has been absent the last few days, receiving immunotherapy treatment in New York.
After three days off, Barça returned to training this Thursday morning in a session dedicated to preparing for the derbi on Sunday against Espanyol. Jordi Roura was in charge of today’s session as Tito Viliaova will be in New York until Friday, participating in a study of oncological immunotherapy.
Tito Vilanova spoke to the media during Saturday’s press conference, after it was released that he will head to New York on Monday for further cancer treatment.
In preparation for Valladolid, he talked about the incentive to win 100 points. “We’ll try to win our remaining three matches. The more goals we score, the better. We can’t stop competing, that’s the only thing I wouldn’t like. We owe our fans and we have to finish the season in strong fashion.”
It has been a rather difficult season for FC Barcelona. The illness of Tito Vilanova and the injuries suffered by many key players have made the season more or less a battle for survival, even though the Liga title has already been secured. We all know that some things can’t be controlled, such as Tito’s unfortunate illness, but could we have done something differently to prevent the injury problems we’ve faced this season? Could we have learned more from the previous seasons when the same problems occurred, though to a smaller extent?
As FC Barcelona won its 22nd league title on Saturday, several of the players and staff took a moment to dedicate the successful season to the extraordinary recoveries of Tito Vilanova and Éric Abidal – Abidal, of course, being our very own #22. Anims Tito, anims Abidal, and visca el Barça!
FC Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova addressed the press on Saturday ahead of this weekend’s Liga match in Madrid against third placed Atlético. Vilanova spent most of his time validating the squad’s imminent Liga title: “This league means a lot. We’ll have beaten the best Madrid ever, the one that got 100 points. I know [Atlético] will want to beat us. It’s always an added motivation to be playing Barça. Atlético have the cup final to think about, but they have a big enough squad to be able to cope well enough with this match too. They’ve only let in ten goals at home and are having an excellent season.”
Javier Mascherano continues to make progress in his recovery and this Wednesday the player was able to train with his teammates for the first time since his injury against Paris Saint-Germain in France. The Argentine, who tore the internal ligament of his right knee in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, spent part of the session working with the group.
After the victory against Real Betis (4-2) FC Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova said in his press conference that he is leaving for New York again on Monday.
Vilanova, who is still undergoing treatment, is expected to be back on Thursday so he will able to manage the team against Atlético Madrid on Sunday. Unfortunately for Tito, this is not the end because he reportedly has to go back to the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital in June.
With speculation abounding over who will stay and go this summer, another question often slips through the cracks, a problem specific to FC Barcelona: who will get promoted from Barça B? Every year, a couple of the club’s youngsters are given first team contracts and a chance to prove their worth. Last year, Cuenca, Fontàs, and Thiago joined the team. This year it was Dos Santos, Tello, Bartra, and Montoya. Next year, likely candidates for promotion are center-back Marc Muniesa, whose season was disrupted by a severe muscle tear this fall, midfielders Sergi Roberto and Rafinha Alcântara, and winger Gerard Deulofeu, crown prince of La Masia. Read on after the break to find out what challenges these youngsters might face in their development.
FC Barcelona was well and soundly beaten by Bayern Munich over the two-legged semi-final. And while the players expressed the hurt, which was visible enough on the faces of most after the match (Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas in particular), they also tipped their caps to a worthy opponent and exited the tournament with humility and class. Much more after the jump.
About a year ago, Pep Guardiola announced that he would be leaving FC Barcelona at the end of the season. Some of us cried, some of us thought “no way”, some of us were surprised, some of us were not and claimed that we really thought he’d leave earlier (myself among them).
By some strange coincidence, I was at the first game he ever directed at the Camp Nou, an apparently uninspiring draw against Racing Santander. Four years later, I met him at the end of his journey as Barça coach, during the week of hell, in April 2012. It’s hard to explain the changes, or the legacy if you want, I witnessed between his first game in charge and that day we got knocked out of the Champions League. But I will try.
FC Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova addressed the media for the first time in almost three months, affirming his desire to continue in his job, confirming that his recovery from cancer was proceeding as expected and vowing to fight to end for a place in the Champion League final. “I had planned to speak to you next week, but the defeat in Munich changed the timetable. I didn’t want you to think I was hiding.” About his immediate future Vilanova was clear: “I feel great, every day is an improvement. I feel strong enough to continue if my health will allow it. I’m enthusiastic about the future.”
FC Barcelona’s first team returned to training this Thursday for the first full session following the 4-0 loss in Munich. All the available players were present at the session, along with Barça B’s Bañuz. The squad began preparing for Saturday’s league match against Athletic Bilbao, in which Barça could mathematically be declared champions depending on the outcome of the Madrid derby (a win against Bilbao would be needed, along with a Madrid loss at the Calderón).
Ever since Tito Vilanova was appointed as FC Barcelona’s new coach, the team has broken many records, scored tons of goals, and played some beautiful football. Perhaps not as breathtaking as some of the best of the 2010/11-Barça, but still, beautiful. However, it hasn’t all been all smooth, as Barça’s defensive problems have come to the point where the team has managed to keep a clean sheet only 7 times in La Liga. How have we come to this?
Eric Abidal wants another Champions League trophy for a good reason: to dedicate it to Tito Vilanova. The Barcelona player presented the ninth edition of the book ‘Relats solidaris de l’esport’, a book that was written by 41 sportswriters with profits from its sale going to the Catalan Cystic Fibrosis Association. Abi highlighted the importance of winning the Champions League, especially in order to dedicate it to his coach.
“We want to lift the cup and not for the team but for Tito, who went through a lot. Pity that the coach can not play,” he said during the event organised in Barcelona. Abidal also spoken during the presentation about his illness: “The doctor told me to live a normal life and mine, since the age of 19, is football.” On his future, he said, “my contract expires in June. I want to stay at Barça, but it will depend on the club. I anyhow want to continue playing.”
Tito Vilanova will return to Bayern Munich’s stadium as manager after four years. He was on the bench as first team manager in the second leg of the quarter-finals of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League, and was responsible for leading the team. The reason Vilanova was in charge that day was that Pep Guardiola was suspended after the first leg at the Camp Nou. He was sent off for protesting a clear penalty on Messi that the referee did not call, instead booking the Argentine with a yellow card. That 2nd leg match, which took place on April 14, 2009, ended 1-1. But it was enough for Barcelona to qualify for the next round because the blaugrana demolished Bayern 4-0 in the first leg at Camp Nou.
Picture credit: MIGUEL RUIZ – FCB
Although they spent five wonderful years together on the Barça bench, the distance between Tito Vilanova and his predecessor Pep Guardiola is widening, according to Mundo Deportivo. Despite spending almost two months in New York undergoing treatment for his cancer, Vilanova has not had so much as a phone call of support from Guardiola, a situation that would’ve been unthinkable just a few months ago.
Good news coming from the official website. Both Xavi (33) and Jordi Alba (24) have been given the medical green light to play against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
The two players both came back injured after Spain’s qualifying games for the world cup in Brazil 2014 against Finland and France.
This Friday at 16:30, FC Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova was back on the pitch of the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper to lead the team’s training session. The players and staff had been hoping for his return and his presence at today’s session was well received. “Our leader is back and this is always important. It will be a boost for the squad,” assured Jordi Roura at the press conference before the session.
El Pivote (The Pivot) is a totalBarça column by Anoop Jethwa about the trials and tribulations of FC Barcelona. From the positives to the negatives, this piece will dive deep into the living fabric that is blaugrana. We welcome your thoughts and feedback in the comments section.
El Pivote is back with a bang, taking issue with a renowned Spanish football expert and adding flesh to the bone of the possession conundrum.
Tito Vilanova is back home, as expected. The FC Barcelona coach arrived at Barcelona’s airport a few minutes after 8:30 am, after more than two months in New York. In the United States he has passed one of the most difficult stages of his tumor treatment. Tito was accompanied by Jordi Roura and Aureli Altimira, and their wives. The coach wanted his return to be discreet: the last days of his treatment in New York have been particularly hard and have weakened him a lot. So it is still not confirmed that he will return to his office this afternoon and lead the evening training session.
Vilanova is expected to return to trainings this week and he will decide if he is strong enough to resume working at the Ciutat Esportiva. Everything indicates that it will be sooner rather than later, because the manager is very eager to resume his normal professional activities. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York on Monday discharged Tito, and from now on the manager will be under the medical care of the doctors in Barcelona.
Welcome home, Tito!
FC Barcelona assistant coaches Jordi Roura and Aureli Altimira have taken advantage of the international break to fly to New York for face-to-face meetings with Tito Vilanova. It is said that the team will strategize about what remains of the current campaign, and that all three men [and their wives] will return to Barcelona together early next week. The return of Vilanova can only energize the squad as it faces crucial tests in the Champions League when that competition resumes in April.
Image: Manel Montilla
The Roura era has officially come to a close with news breaking across the Catalan media on the imminent return of Tito Vilanova. Sport reported on Monday that Vilanova would be back in Barcelona on March 25 after a two month absence, and would likely be on the sidelines for Barcelona’s next match against Celta on March 30. This news is welcomed across the Barcelona world with a collective sign of relief at the return of our first-choice coach.
FC Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova was on hand for Friday’s training session at Red Bull Arena in in Harrison, New Jersey, at the waterfront across from Newark, the home of the New York Red Bulls. Tito, who is undergoing cancer treatment in a nearby New York City hospital, paid a visit to the stadium and after training he walked down to the pitch to meet with former FC Barcelona forward Thierry Henry.
Source: newyorkredbulls.com; Picture credit: @FCBarcelona_FR