On Friday night Tito Vilanova stepped down as boss of Barcelona due to ill health. Vilanova’s exit was announced at a press conference by Barcelona president Sandro Rosell.
Pep Guardiola’s former assistant is believed to have suffered a setback in his battle against throat cancer.
Vilanova first discovered he had cancer when he had a tumour removed in 2011, only for him to relapse later that year.
In December, he travelled to New York to undergo treatment.
Unfortunately, it seems that his health has taken a turn for the worst and he will now undergo extensive treatment away from the glare of the media spotlight.
On behalf of everybody at Soccernews, I would just like to send our best wishes to Tito and wish him a speedy recovery. Unlike what legendary Liverpool boss Bill Shankly said about football being more important to life, it is not, and at the end of the day Tito’s health is the most important thing.
Football has to take back seat when things like this happen. Vilanova leaves Barcelona with a legacy of the joint-highest ever points total won by any La Liga team, which in my opinion is the best way to leave the club.
Barcelona will now have to find a replacement for Vilanova. This could be a tricky task considering a number of the biggest bosses in the managerial game moved on this summer. However, Barca have announced that Vilanova’s replacement will be appointed next week. Here is a rundown of the bosses believed to be in the running for the position:
The former-Barca and Real Madrid midfielder is a legend at Nou Camp, after spending eight years at the club. Despite arriving from their bitter-rivals Real, Enrique won the hearts of the Barcelona fans. His managerial career started with a stint as Barcelona B boss, after he succeeded Pep Guardiola.
Enrique led Barca B to promotion to the second tier and led them to the promotion play-offs in the Segunda. However, his team was eligible to participate for a place in La Liga. Enrique then moved to Italian club Roma where he enjoyed a rather unsuccessful stint.
In June, Enrique was appointed as first team coach at Celta Vigo, who had narrowly avoided relegation last season. Despite recently being appointed, I think the lure of Barcelona could be too much for the former-Barca star. Enrique is the favourite with many bookmakers for the position.
The Tottenham boss is already believed to have turned down the PSG job to stay in north London this summer. However, a move to Barcelona would be a completely different prospect. Villas-Boas has rebuilt his reputation as a manager at Spurs, after a disastrous spell at Chelsea.
His spell at Chelsea ended in tears, as rumours of player power being too much for the Portuguese boss. The players at Barcelona hold a hell of a lot of power, but his time at Tottenham seems to have aided the rookie boss in his coaching development.
Villas-Boas is still very much considered as ‘Mourinho’s protégé’, but he is a very talented young coach in his own right. Whether now is the right time for him to move to Barcelona is a question only he can answer.
Frank de Boer
De Boer is another former-Barcelona star that has ventured into coaching. The Dutchman has enjoyed a very successful spell in charge of Ajax in his homeland, winning three consecutive Eredivisie titles and restoring Ajax to their place as Holland’s leading club.
De Boer’s only other managerial experience came as an Ajax youth team coach, but a lack of managerial experience did not stop Pep Guardiola or Tito Villanova being successful at the Nou Camp. De Boer’s has also got the advantage of having managed the Dutch side in the Champions League.
Joan Francesc Ferrer ‘Rubi’
Little known outside of Spanish football, Joan Francesc Ferrer or ‘Rubi’ was boss of second tier Girona last season. He only joined the Barca coaching staff last month. However, the Catalan giant’s propensity to promote from within the Barcelona family could give ‘Rubi’ a big opportunity, but he looks like an outsider at the moment.
The veteran German boss was hugely successful with Bavarian giants Bayern Munich last season. One of the highlights was a highly impressive 7-0 aggregate victory over Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, on the way to winning the trophy.
Heynckes has experience of Spanish football, having managed at Real Madrid. He also won the Champions League with Los Blancos. One of the factors that may work against the German is his age, as Barca tends to appoint younger up-and-coming coaches.
Vilanova’s assistant last season Roura had previously only had an assistant role at Yokohama Flugels and a short spell in charge in the lower divisions of Spanish football with Hospitalet to show for his actual coaching career.
Roura was in charge of Barcelona last season during Vilanova’s absence, but came in for criticism in his short spell in charge. Seems like an unlikely candidate though.
Whoever does get the Barcelona job should feel very privileged to work with such an outstanding squad of players. Despite claims that anybody could manage such a talented group of players, the Barcelona squad still need a steadying hand.
Who that will be is as yet unknown, but Barcelona have a habit of making very wise decisions when it comes to bosses and I doubt the next will be any different.
Who will be the next Barcelona boss?