Tito Vilanova pledges to carry on at Barcelona


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The Independent Football

The Barcelona coach, Tito Vilanova, has vowed that he will still be in charge next season – as long as his health allows him to continue.

Vilanova had surgery to remove a second throat tumour in two years in December and then spent 10 weeks in New York receiving further treatment. He coached his first game back on 2 April. 

Speaking publicly for the first time since returning from his medical leave of absence, he said: “I have the strength to continue as long as my health allows me to. I never thought about quitting.”

With his voice noticeably raspy from the effects of the cancer treatment, he added: “I feel fine after the process I went through. I didn’t come back before because of the side effects like my voice, but every day I feel better and more motivated.

“When I have two days of vacation I don’t know what to do. Coaching is my life. I do it naturally and it doesn’t represent a burden for me. My doctors even told me that I should keep working. I will continue for sure.”

Barcelona can clinch the Spanish league title tonight if they win at Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid beat city rivals Real Madrid. Barcelona then face the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp on Wednesday after losing 4-0 in the first game.

In Germany, Werder Bremen have suspended star players Marko Arnautovic and Eljero Elia a day before a crucial Bundesliga match at Bayer Leverkusen.

The two were caught speeding in separate cars on a highway in the early hours of yesterday morning. Police said no alcohol was involved.  However, the players got into what police said was an “aggressive” argument with officers, who called for help. No arrests were made.

Bremen said they could not tolerate the “unprofessional” behaviour before a key match. Bremen have not won in nine matches and could still be relegated from Germany’s top division with four games remaining this season.

Uefa has fined Internazionale €45,000 (£37,800)  for “the improper conduct of their fans” during the Europa League tie against Tottenham Hotspur on 14 March in which striker Emmanuel Adebayor was racially abused.