Tito Vilanova Obituary, Spanish Professional Football Central Midfielder And Manager Has Died
- john Gibson
Tito Vilanova Obituary, Death- was a manager and center midfielder in professional Spanish football. Following a career that included 26 La Liga games in three seasons, all with Celta, he joined Barcelona as Pep Guardiola’s assistant coach and worked with the team that had won 14 titles.
Vilanova won La Liga in his lone season before being named first-team manager in 2012. He retired in July 2013 due to health issues, and he passed away from throat cancer the following year. Vilanova, who was raised in Bellcaire d’Empordà, Girona, Catalonia, joined the FC Barcelona youth system before departing the La Liga powerhouse in 1990 without making it to the first squad. His second club, UE Figueres, was also in his hometown, and he helped the team to its best-ever Segunda División finish (third place) in the 1991–92 season. The team finally faced Cádiz CF in the promotion play-offs, losing 3-1 on aggregate.
Vilanova then joined RC Celta de Vigo in the top division, but only made sporadic appearances over the course of three full seasons. Vilanova then returned to division two in 1995, playing for CD Badajoz, RCD Mallorca (helping the Balearic Islands team gain promotion by playing in ten matches), UE Lleida, and Elche CF before retiring in December 2001 with the bottom-feeding UDA Gramenet. Vilanova became the first player to score against a Portuguese-managed side in a 1998 Copa Catalunya match between Lleida and Barcelona, which was coached by José Mourinho, who alternated duties with Louis van Gaal as the tournament’s head coach. Vilanova began his coaching career in 2003-04 while in charge of FC Palafrugell, a Tercera División team that was relegated to the Primera Catalana. After serving as technical director at Terrassa FC, he was hired as assistant manager at FC Barcelona B, where the team played in the fourth tier, manager Pep Guardiola.
Vilanova and Guardiola were promoted to the main squad in the summer of 2008 after helping the reserves earn promotion to Segunda División B. They took the place of Frank Rijkaard and Johan Neeskens, two Dutch players. The team won six major trophies during his first season at Camp Nou, becoming the first team in Spanish history to win the Copa del Rey, league, and UEFA Champions League crowns (the treble) in the same year.
I was a substitute or didn’t play at the time, so Tito was the first person to believe in me. He was also the one who gave me the starting spot in the under-16 division. Vilanova’s appointment as his replacement was announced alongside Guardiola’s departure by Barcelona on April 27, 2012, at a press conference. On June 15, he signed a two-year contract. Lionel Messi said that Vilanova was the first club coach to put his belief in him and give him the starting spot for their under-16 teams that year. On November 25, 2012, when Vilanova played Levante UD in a league match, they were able to field 11 academy graduates at once thanks to the early injury of Dani Alves and Martin Montoya. His club went on to win its 22nd domestic championship by a record margin of 15 points, totaling 100 in the process. During the season, they only lost eight competitive games, scoring at least once in every league encounter.