Madrid, March 26 (IANS) Barcelona coach Tito Vilavona returned home this Tuesday morning after over two months undergoing cancer treatment in New York.
Vilanova arrived at the El Prat airport in Barcelona at 8.30 am where he was met by his assistant coach Jordi Roura, who has been in charge of first team affairs since Vilanova left for New York Jan 21, reports Xinhua.
The coach had been diagnosed with a relapse of the cancer of the parotid gland which had originally been discovered late in 2011. Barcelona said Monday that Vilanova would return this week but without giving a specific date for his return.
During his time in New York, Barcelona lost two games to local rivals Real Madrid, including the semifinal of the Copa del Rey but qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League where they will play Paris Saint Germain, with the first leg in Paris next Tuesday.
Before that they play in the La Liga away to Celta Vigo Saturday night and Vilanova will have to get down to work quickly given that his side has an injury crisis for that game with players such as Carles Puyol, Jordi Alba and Adriano all unable to play while others such as Xavi Hernandez, who has had hamstring problems in recent weeks, are still away on international duty.
Despite these problems, Vilanova’s return will provide a huge morale boost to the club, which has already prepared a video homage to celebrate the fact he is back where he belongs.