Skip to main content

Vilanova returns as Barca get back to work

January 3, 2013 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Former assistant coach Tito Vilanova led Barca to 16 wins in 17 league matches prior to his surgery.
Former assistant coach Tito Vilanova led Barca to 16 wins in 17 league matches prior to his surgery.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tito Vilanova returns to Barcelona training ground after operation to remove a tumor
  • The Barca coach had a tumor removed from his parotid gland on December 20
  • Vilanova visited players ahead of the match between Catalan national team and Nigeria
  • Barca continuing their charge towards the Spanish title against Espanyol on Sunday

(CNN) -- Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has returned to the Catalan club's training ground just two weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his throat.

Vilanova suffered a recurrence of a tumor on his parotid gland -- located at the back of the mouth -- and was released from hospital on December 22.

The former assistant coach, who replaced Josep Guardiola in June, returned to training on Wednesday ahead of the Spanish league leaders' derby match with Espanyol on Sunday.

Vilanova also dropped in on the Catalan national team -- featuring nine Barca players -- as it prepared for a friendly match with Nigeria.

Whether striker Demba Ba will be playing for Newcastle after January has been the subject of intense speculation. The Senegal international is in talks with Chelsea after the London side triggered a £7 million ($11 million) release clause in his contract which became active again on January 1. It is "even (money) whether he'll stay or go," said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew. Whether striker Demba Ba will be playing for Newcastle after January has been the subject of intense speculation. The Senegal international is in talks with Chelsea after the London side triggered a £7 million ($11 million) release clause in his contract which became active again on January 1. It is "even (money) whether he'll stay or go," said Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
Ba uncertainty
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
Transfer window offers rich pickings Transfer window offers rich pickings
Lionel Messi celebrates after matching Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, netting in the 16th minute of Barcelona's match against Real Betis in December 2012. Just nine minutes later the Argentina star passed the German's 1972 milestone. Lionel Messi celebrates after matching Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, netting in the 16th minute of Barcelona's match against Real Betis in December 2012. Just nine minutes later the Argentina star passed the German's 1972 milestone.
Messi beats Muller
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
Lionel Messi\'s record year Lionel Messi's record year
Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with Barcelona teammates Cesc Fabregas, left, and Xavi Hernandez after matching Pele's 75 goals in a calendar year. Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with Barcelona teammates Cesc Fabregas, left, and Xavi Hernandez after matching Pele's 75 goals in a calendar year.
Messi magic
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
Messi moves past Pele milestone Messi moves past Pele milestone
Daniel Craig and Cristiano Ronaldo have both been outspoken in their desire to reclaim a right to privacy. Both men have become frustrated with their treatment in public. Daniel Craig and Cristiano Ronaldo have both been outspoken in their desire to reclaim a right to privacy. Both men have become frustrated with their treatment in public.
007 and CR7
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
>
>>
The Real Ronaldo The Real Ronaldo
In the absence of suspended skipper Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel captained Manchester United to European Champions League glory in 1999. United trailed Bayern Munich 1-0 heading into the 90th minute, but stunned the Germans by scoring twice in a matter of minutes to seal a famous 2-1 success. The win completed an historic Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble. In the absence of suspended skipper Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel captained Manchester United to European Champions League glory in 1999. United trailed Bayern Munich 1-0 heading into the 90th minute, but stunned the Germans by scoring twice in a matter of minutes to seal a famous 2-1 success. The win completed an historic Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble.
Great Dane
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Schmeichel\'s Champions League tips Schmeichel's Champions League tips

Blog: Barcelona's Vilanova coach of the year?

"The manager ... led the team's second training session of the year," read a statement on the club's official website.

"This morning, Vilanova stopped by the Ciutat Esportiva to meet with the Catalan players ahead of this afternoon's Catalonia vs. Nigeria match."

Barca president Sandro Rosell said last weekend he hoped Vilanova would be fit to return to work in two-to-three weeks.

Despite not being recognized by football's global governing body FIFA, a squad made up entirely of Catalan players occasionally plays exhibition matches.

The team, led by Dutch former Barca player and coach Johan Cruyff, was held to a 1-1 draw by Nigeria at the Camp Nou.

Midfielder Sergio Gonzalez, without a club since being released by Levante in 2011, gave the Catalan team the lead from the penalty spot after three minutes.

But Nigeria earned a draw when U.S.-born Portland Timbers striker Bright Dike equalized after 55 minutes.

Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi is preparing Nigeria for this month's 2013 African Cup of Nations in South Africa, where the two-time tournament winners have been drawn in a group with 2012 champions Zambia, Burkina Faso and Mali.

Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes picked up an injury in the match which will see him sit out training on Thursday.

Vilanova's team, under the temporary guidance of assistant Jordi Roura, is looking to continue a run which saw them pick up a record 16 wins from their first 17 league matches of the season.

The Espanyol tie will see Argentine star Lionel Messi take to the field for the first time this year, after a record-breaking 2012 which saw him score 91 goals.

Barca currently lead second-placed Atletico Madrid, who face Mallorca on Sunday, by nine points, with archrivals Real Madrid a further seven points back.

Cruyff described Real's start to the season as a "failure", while also questioning coach Jose Mourinho's decision to drop Spanish international goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

"At this stage of the season Real Madrid being 16 points behind Barcelona can only be called a failure," Cruyff was reported to have said by Spanish newspaper Marca.

On Mourinho favoring Antonio Adan over World Cup winner Casillas, Cruyff commented: "You don't lose your place overnight." Real host Real Sociedad on Sunday.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT