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Roura to coach Barca in Vilanova´s absence

Assistant coach Jordi Roura will take temporary charge of Barcelona’s first team, with Tito Vilanova set to undergo surgery.

Roura, who came through the club’s La Masia youth system as a player, will take over the day-to-day running of the side while Vilanova undergoes treatment.

Roura began his career at Camp Nou, and then became a coach in Japan with Yokohama Flugels before moving on to Terrassa FC until 2007.

The 45-year-old then moved on to L’Hospitalet in the Spanish third tier, before he joined Pep Guardiola’s technical staff at Barca in 2009, charged with analysing opposition sides.

Following Guardiola’s departure in June – and Vilanova’s promotion to head coach – Roura became Barca’s assistant first-team coach.

Vilanova, who had surgery on a cancerous tumour on a gland in his throat in November 2011, is expected to undergo treatment on Thursday.

He is due to remain in hospital for three or four days, and then faces chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions over the following six weeks.

Barca are due to play at Valladolid in La Liga on Saturday, before the two-week mid-season break.

Meanwhile, defender Eric Abidal returned to training with the first team following a nine-month absence after liver surgery.

The France international has not played competitive football since February 26, but hopes to return to action within the coming weeks.

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Wed 19 December, 2012
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