1 year annivessary: Tito Vilanova’s memory lives on at Barcelona and beyond.
Ayear since the death of former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, his memory lives on at the club where he played an integral part in the most successful era in its history.
Vilanova died aged 45 on April 25 last year after a long battle against parotid gland cancer that cut short the life of a coach in his prime.
The way he steadfastly attempted to carry on despite his illness in his typically understated manner drew much admiration and there was a considerable outpouring of sadness at his passing.
People from the sporting world and many others who wanted to pay tribute, attended a memorial service at Barcelona cathedral.
Vilanova was Pep Guardiola’s assistant during a golden spell for the club when they won three La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies from 2008-12.
While Guardiola was the public face, Vilanova worked hard behind the scenes as Barca not only won trophies but did it by taking apart opposition teams with their brand of short-passing football that became known as ‘tiki-taka’.
Vilanova would take charge of preparing the strategy and advise on potential signings as Barca went on to win 14 out of a possible 19 trophies.
The pair knew each other from passing through Barca’s youth system but Vilanova was let go in 1990 and played for several lower league teams before finally getting his chance in the Spanish top flight with Celta Vigo in the mid-1990s.
It was as a coach that he really made his mark though and after Guardiola left, he took charge of the Barca first team.
Barcelona went on to make a record start to a Primera Liga season with 18 wins from 19 games but in December 2012, Vilanova was diagnosed with cancer for a second time.
It meant his assistant Jordi Roura took charge of the team on those occasions when he was undergoing treatment.
Barca won the league but at the end of the season, Vilanova announced he was resigning to concentrate on his recovery from the illness.
He is fondly remembered at the club for not only being a Barcelona man but also his unassuming manner and in February this year a pitch at their training ground was named after him.