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Barcelona boosted by Vilanova return

Tito Vilanova took over from Josep Guardiola as Barcelona coach in June 2012.

Story highlights

  • Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova returning to Catalonia
  • Vilanova has been in New York for two months undergoing cancer treatment
  • Assistant coach Jordi Roura has been in temporary charge of the team
  • Vilanova took over from Josep Guardiola in June 2012
Barcelona have been handed a boost ahead of next week's European Champions League quarterfinal tie against Paris Saint-Germain after the club confirmed coach Tito Vilanova is to return to Catalonia following cancer treatment.
Vilanova has been in New York for two months undergoing treatment, with assistant coach Jordi Roura assuming first team duties on a temporary basis.
A statement released by the four-time European champions said Vilanova, who was assistant to Josep Guardiola between 2008 and 2012, is heading home to Spain this week.
"Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will be returning home this week after being in New York for the last two months," read a statement on the Spanish league leader's official website.
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However the statement did not specify when Vilanova would return to the dugout for the four-time European champions.
"Tito traveled to New York on January 21 for treatment and this week he will be returning home to the Catalan capital.
"Jordi Roura has been in charge of the team over the last couple of months and has been in permanent contact with Vilanova to agree on important decisions.
"But Vilanova's place on the bench has always been kept for him and this week the team will welcome their boss back. Welcome home Tito."
Vilanova, who was assistant to former Barca coach Josep Guardiola between 2008 and 2012, has been undergoing treatment following a recurrence of cancer of his parotid gland, which is located in the mouth.
Bounced back
The 44-year-old Vilanova initially underwent surgery to remove a tumor in November 2011.
For the first time since Guardiola took over Barca in 2008, recently the Catalan team have faced questions over their performances in the time Vilanova has been away.
Barca were beaten over two legs by Real Madrid in a Copa del Rey semifinal, including a crushing 3-1 home defeat at the Nou Camp stadium, while Jose Mourinho's side also beat the Catalans in the Spanish league
Between the two cup ties with Real, Barca were also beaten 2-0 by AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.
But Barca bounced back emphatically, steamrollering Milan in the second leg with a 4-0 triumph.
The first leg of Barca's last eight tie with PSG takes place in Paris on April 2, before the return fixture on April 10.