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Vilanova says goodbye to Barcelona in letter

Saturday - 7/20/2013, 3:26pm  ET

FILE - In this April 30, 2013 file photo, FC Barcelona's coach Tito Vilanova attends a press conference at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in San Joan Despi, Spain. Barcelona has called a news conference amid reports that coach Tito Vilanova is stepping down because of a recurrence of a throat illness. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

JOSEPH WILSON
Associated Press

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Tito Vilanova has thanked Barcelona, its players and fans for "five wonderful years" the day after the club announced he was stepping down to fight his recurring throat cancer.

Vilanova writes in an open letter on Barcelona's website that "the moment has arrived to face a change in my professional life and dedicate my energies and efforts to following a treatment for an illness doctors diagnosed a year and a half ago."

Vilanova had previously twice been obliged to take a medical leave after consecutive surgeries to remove tumors from a saliva gland.

Barcelona said it will name his successor next week with the Spanish league season set to start on Aug. 17.


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