Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has expressed his sympathy for Barcelona counterpart Tito Vilanova after his cancer relapse.
Vilanova, who had an operation to remove a tumour in a salivary gland last year, suffered a recurrence of his throat cancer which led to another bout of surgery on Thursday.
He will be in hospital until Sunday at least before needing up to six weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The news came as a shock to the football world and although Mourinho remained tight-lipped on what contact he had with Vilanova since the news, he offered his best wishes to the 44-year-old.
“I do not like talking about what I do in my private life,” said Mourinho.
“Whether I call him (Vilanova) or not, or send a text or not, or talk to Vilanova or not, is a personal thing. I have no comment about it.
“The fact is that a colleague has a problem and I am the same as everyone.
“I think that with issues like this everybody desires the same thing. Because of this, for Tito and his family, we are all in this together, even the people who do not have anything to do with football and have health issues. And I hope it all works out well for everyone.”
Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets also spoke about Vilanova’s health and said he hopes his side can defeat Real Vallodolid on Saturday for their manager.
“It’s very important to get the three points tomorrow,” Busquets said.
“Also it would be really good collectively to be able to offer a win to Tito Vilanova that would help cheer him up.
“We need to keep playing and we have his (Vilanova’s) strength. We want to win for him and, it’s true, it’s a difficult time, but the most important thing is to keep it as normal as we can and try to get the three points.
“I’m sure if we win that will help his recovery as it will cheer him up.”
Vilanova – who was appointed as Barcelona’s first team assistant coach in 2008 – took over from Pep Guardiola when he left the job as senior coach of the Catalan giants in April.
Vilanova has guided Barcelona to their best ever league start, with the team winning 15 of their 16 matches and drawing the other.