Barcelona President Sandro Rosell has said Coach Tito Vilanova will return in two or three weeks after treatment for cancer.
Vilanova was operated on last week after suffering a relapse of the tumour in his parotid gland. His assistant Jordi Roura filled in for the win at Real Valladolid but the club have been clear that Vilanova remains the Coach and will return as soon as he is able.
Rosell made the comments at a conference in Dubai, the same one being attended by Real Madrid Coach Jose Mourinho and UEFA President Michel Platini, amongst others.
“Within two or three weeks he will be back, but he must go to the hospital and have a few day’s rest. He will mix the treatment with work. The important thing is his health, currently, football is secondary.”
He also talked about the contract renewals of Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez, before elaborating on the Blaugrana’s overarching philosophy.
“Xavi and Puyol are among the best in Spain. They are important to our club because they are an example to our young people, and we want them to remain at the club in future.
“33 years ago we created an academy for young talents,” the administrator continued. “Recently, for the first time in our history, we played with a team composed exclusively of players trained in our cantera. It was a historic day, a dream come true.
“Our goal is to train people, it is important that they are educated. Barcelona teaches a culture, and of course, to be ambitious. If one of our guys is not doing well at school, he won’t play. It’s important to realise that football is not everything in life. There is a voluntary commitment with each player upon signing their contract – 1 per cent of your salary goes to charity. Obviously this also applies to the Coach.
“We signed two players – Cesc [Fabregas] and [Javier] Mascherano – on lower wages than the clubs they had been playing for. They wanted to play with us, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Whilst pointing out that Barca live up to their motto and are indeed ‘more than a club’, Rosell also stressed that the club must remain apolitical.
“We must stay away from politics. Clearly everyone has their own opinion. But we do not tell them what to do or what not to do, you already know that.
“Many of our players have foundations off the field with money from their own pockets. [Lionel] Messi for example, helps many people in Argentina. On January 4, all our players deliver Christmas gifts to the hospital. Last year I met a family who told me that after the visit their medical analysis had been better. It’s an amazing thing, but it really happened.”