Soccer

Vilanova takes Barcelona training

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has been recovering from throat cancer.
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP)

Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova took training on Friday for the first time since undergoing treatment for cancer in the United States.

Vilanova has spent the past two months in New York undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy following surgery on his parotid gland in December, returning to Spain on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old had suffered a relapse after first having a tumour removed from his throat in November 2011.

His return came as a boost to the runaway Primera Division leaders, who hold a 13-point lead at the top of the table.

In Vilanova's absence, the team suffered a pair of painful defeats to archrival Real Madrid, but also pulled off a historic 4-0 win to come back against AC Milan in the Champions League. Roura insisted throughout that he was carrying out Vilanova's orders.

Vilanova was shown in video footage on Barcelona's website helping to orchestrate the late-afternoon session.

Jordi Roura, who has been in charge of the team in Vilanova's absence, said at an earlier press conference that Vilanova would not attend Saturday's league match away to Celta Vigo.

However the club confirmed that providing Vilanova is well enough, he could be in the Barcelona travelling party for next Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Paris Saint-Germain.

Roura said: "The boss is back and that's always important. It'll be a boost for the squad."

Barcelona leads the Spanish league by 13 points with 10 games to go.

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