Friday, April 27th, 2012
Pep’s out, Tito’s in.
It’s been a day of shocks at the Nou Camp. Pep Guardiola cited fatigue as a major reason why he is leaving his Barcelona post at the end of the season, while thoughts of a drawn-out who’s next? scenario were quickly snuffed out as Tito Vilanova’s appointment was rapidly announced by Barcelona president Sandro Rosell.
So who is Tito Vilanova?
The 42-year-old current assistant coach at Barcelona has been Pep’s right-hand-man ever since Guardiola took the reigns at the Nou Camp back in 2007. Initially the duo worked side-by-side with Barcelona B, and then in 2008 the pair were jointly promoted to take charge of the senior side.
Yet it wasn’t under the start of this season that most outside the Nou Camp learned who Tito Vilanova was.
The catalyst of Vilanova’s publicity came in the August 2011 El Clasico during the Spanish Super Cup.
As both sides converged on each other following a disgraceful Marcelo challenge on Cesc Fabregas, the Special One calmly walked up to Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova and appeared to gouge his eye.
Vilanova pushed Mourinho back towards his dug out with the former Porto and Chelsea boss smirking at the Barcelona assistant in the aftermath.
Incredibly, in his post-match interview Mourinho said “I don’t know who Tito Vilanova is” and when asked directly, denied gouging anyone in the eye.
As a result it was left to Pep Guardiola to sum up a mental incident: “The Mourinho-Vilanova incident? I think the images speak for themselves. Mourinho says he doesn’t know Vilanova? Doesn’t matter, for us, he’s crucial. Like so many others.”