Champions League

Vilanova attends training session

Tito Vilanova (REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino)
Barcelona announced Tito Vilanova's departure from the club on Friday.
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP)

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Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova has returned to the Catalan club's training base less than two weeks after undergoing surgery on a tumour in his throat.

The 44-year-old has temporarily stepped aside at the Nou Camp after it was confirmed he required a further operation on cancerous tissue near his parotid gland, having previously had saliva glands removed in November 2011.

Vilanova faces six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, with his assistant Jordi Roura assuming control of the first team, but the Barca boss was well enough to attend a training session on Wednesday.

He was greeted by the nine players who turned up for the first training session of the year, including Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets.

A statement released on the Primera Division club's official Twitter feed read: "Tito Vilanova came to the Ciudad Deportiva this morning and greeted the players who trained there.''

The news that their coach faced a second battle against cancer came on December 22, with Barcelona medical staff suggesting at the time that Vilanova could potentially combine his treatment with his first-team duties, should circumstances allow.

Club president Sandro Rosell revealed last week that he was optimistic Vilanova could return to work "within two or three weeks''.

It remains unclear, though, whether Vilanova will be involved in preparing his players for Barca's home game with city rivals Espanyol this Sunday.

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