Vilanova steps down as Barcelona coach after cancer relapse
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 2004 GMT (0404 HKT)
Tito Vilanova took over from Josep Guardiola as Barcelona coach in June 2012.
- Tito Vilanova steps down as coach of Spanish champions Barcelona
- Club cited health reasons as the 45-year-old battles cancer
- Vilanova succeeded Pep Guardiola in June 2012
- First diagnosed with cancerous throat tumor in 2011
(CNN) -- Tito Vilanova stepped down as Barcelona coach Friday after the Spanish champions revealed he needed fresh treatment in his battle against cancer.
Club president Sandro Rosell and sporting director Andoni Zubizaretta made the announcement at a specially convened media conference at the Nou Camp.
The 44-year-old Vilanova led the Catalan giants to the La Liga title last season after succeeding Pep Guardiola in June 2012.
Read: Barcelona wrap up La Liga title
Bayern Munich puts a hurt on Barcelona
Pele: Mourinho is 'good for Chelsea'
Messi claims fourth Ballon d'Or
But he spent nearly three months on the sidelines after having surgery followed by a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in New York.
Vilanova, a long-time assistant to Guardiola, had first been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor of the throat in November 2011, but after having initial treatment returned to work in less than three weeks.
He was appointed to the top job when his old boss quit and under his charge Barcelona made a storming start to last season.
After his return in March following his treatment, they wrapped up the domestic title, but suffered a semifinal humiliation to Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinals.
Read: Barcelona crushed by Bayern in semifinals
Vilanova had been preparing his squad for the new season, but following news of his fresh health problems, the club announced their trip to Poland for a friendly with Lechia Gdansk Saturday had been canceled.
Barcelona said assistant coach Joan Francesc Ferrer Sicilia would take temporary charge and Rosell said a new coach would be appointed "probably early next week."
Vilanova's battle with cancer has occurred in tandem with Eric Abidal, the French international defender, who was diagnosed with a liver tumor.
When Barcelona clinched their 22nd La Liga title last season, club captain Carles Puyol stepped aside to allow Vilanova and Abidal to initially lift the trophy in recognition of their brave battles against illness.
Abidal left the Catalan giants at the end of the season when he was not offered a fresh playing contract.
Several Barcelona players, including Argentina star Lionel Messi and Puyol, attended Friday's announcement of Vilanova's latest setback.
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
Today's five most popular stories