Barcelona’s Tito Vilanova will be on the bench for Real Madrid clash

Barcelona’s Tito Vilanova will be on the bench for Real Madrid clash

Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man has made a rapid recovery after being forced to undergo surgery to remove a tumor on his parotid gland last month

pep guardiola and titp vilanova (barcelona technical staff)

pep guardiola and titp vilanova (barcelona technical staff)

Barcelona has been buoyed by the news that assistant coach Tito Vilanova will be on the bench for Saturday’s La Liga showdown with Real Madrid.

Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man returns to the Catalans’ dugout after being forced to undergo surgery to remove a tumor found on his parotid gland just before the Champions League clash with AC Milan at San Siro last month.

Barcelona midfielder Xavi admitted that the players had not expected Vilanova to return to work so quickly after his operation.

“His return has been a pleasant surprise for the team,” the Spain international is quoted as saying by AS. “This is the best news, and not only with regard to the Clasico, but the league as well.

“He has given us a talk and made us appreciate things. He has asked that we take joy out of everything because you never know what can happen.”

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho infamously clashed with Vilanova after the Spanish Supercopa second-leg encounter at Camp Nou in August, with the Portuguese appearing to poke his finger into the eye of the Barcelona assistant.

However, Mourinho was delighted by the news that Vilanova will be present at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night and intends to greet him with open arms.

“If last year we showed our solidarity with Abidal’s problems, obviously now we do likewise with Tito Vilanova,” the former Inter boss said. “He will be here on Dec. 10 on the bench in full health, and we’ll all have the pleasure of welcoming him.”

Abidal had to have a tumor on his liver removed in March 2011, but made a full recovery and remains an integral part of the Barcelona squad.

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