Barcelona have confirmed that coach Tito Vilanova will have surgery on Thursday after a recurrence of a problem with a throat gland.
The 44-year-old had surgery to remove a tumour in his saliva glands in November last year but has suffered a relapse in his recovery programme.
"While monitoring his parotid gland a change has been detected in his condition that requires surgery," read a club statement.
Vilanova is expected to return home within a few days of the surgery before undergoing a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy which will last around six weeks.
He will then make a decision on whether he feels well enough to return to work, with Barcelona yet to make an announcement on who would take control of team affairs in the meantime.
Messages of support have been pouring in from around the world for the Barcelona coach, with fierce rivals Real Madrid issuing a statement.
"Real Madrid wishes to express all its support, love and affection for Barcelona's coach Tito Vilanova, to whom it wishes a quick recovery," read the statement.
"Real Madrid extends this support to his club and all his family."
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