Vilanova signs Barca deal

15 June 2012 06:19

Francesc "Tito" Vilanova on Friday signed a two-year deal as coach of Barcelona, filling the void left by Pep Guradiola.

Vilanova had been in contract talks with Barcelona ever since the April 27 announcement that he would replace the departing Guardiola in the dugout.

"Tito" was quick to praise his predecessor, saying "any comparisons were lost" with what his "friend" Guardiola had achieved with Barca.

Vilanova added that he did not forsee many big changes, but admitted that the club were looking to recruit a midfielder and left winger.

Brazilian defender Dani Alves, rumoured to be on his way out of the club, would be staying, he stressed.

"There's no possibility that he's leaving," Vilanova said. "We want him to stay. He's very important and one of the team's best players."

In April, Guardiola confirmed that he was stepping down after four trophy-laden years in charge.

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell revealed the same day that Vilanova would step up from his role as Guardiola's assistant as the club seek to maintain continuity.

Vilanova, 42, played only briefly as a professional in Spain's top flight, notably with Celta Vigo, before turning to coaching at the end of his career and finding his way back to the club of his youth.

He came through Barcelona's youth ranks but after failing to break into the first team he continued his playing career with a number of lower league clubs before retiring in 2002.

He rejoined the Catalans as a youth coach in 2007, helping Barcelona's B side to promotion before becoming Guardiola's number two with the first team.

Guardiola won 14 titles in his four seasons in charge, with two Champions League crowns and two Club World Cups adding to three domestic league titles, two Copas del Rey, two European SuperCups and three Spanish SuperCups.

Source: AFP

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