Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has reportedly suffered a relapse of a tumor and may have to leave his post immediately to undergo further treatment.
The 44-year-old Vilanova had surgery in November last year on his parotid gland, which "produces saliva and sits in the back of the jaw bone." (AP)
The operation, which took place at the Vall d'Hebron hospital in Barcelona, was deemed a success and Vilanova returned to his role as Pep Guardiola's assistant soon after.
Tito Vilanova has a recession on his illness (tumor). Barcelona will give more information during the day— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) December 19, 2012
Vilanova succeeded Guardiola as Barcelona's coach in July and has since led his team on a dominant run in La Liga. Barca are currently nine points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top, and 13 clear of their great rivals Real Madrid.
Fears were raised over Vilanova's condition after Barcelona cancelled a press conference on Wednesday. Sourcing television reports in Spain, the Mirror are claiming it has already been decided he will step down as Barcelona coach and the club have "already contacted their first-choice candidate."
We'll bring you more as the story develops.