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Health concerns may force Barcelona head coach to step down

Dec 19, 2012, 8:46 AM EDT

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All of a sudden, Barça’s record start no longer seems as important.

According to reports out of Spain, Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova has suffered a recurrence of the cancerous condition that forced the 44-year-old to undergo an operation 12 months ago.

While the club has yet to confirm the news, all of Barça’s regularly scheduled media activities have been cancelled. The club confirmed there would be a further announcement at some point on Wednesday.

Last year, Vilanova underwent an operation to remove a tumor from his parotid gland. At the time, he was an assistant to then-head coach Pep Guardiola.

This summer, Vilanova was appointed Guardiola’s successor and has since led the club to its best ever La Liga start (15-0-1). After their Sunday win over second place Atlético Madrid, Barça sits nine points clear at the top of Spain’s Primera Division.

Per ESPN FC, further reports have Barcelona already reaching out to potential replacements to step in for the remainder of the season. While you’d like to hold out hope the club’s announcement could cast early reports in a speculative, pessimistic light, this appears to be a very sad day at Barcelona.

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