07/19/2013 03:56 pm ET

Tito Vilanova Leaves Barcelona To Undergo Cancer Treatment


By Joe Wright,

Tito Vilanova has resigned as coach of Barcelona, the club has confirmed.

Rumors emerged on Friday that the 44-year-old, who took over from Pep Guardiola prior to the 2012-13 season, was set to step down from his role after suffering another setback in his battle against ill-health.

Club president Sandro Rosell and director of football Andoni Zubizarreta called a press conference at Camp Nou on Friday evening, where they confirmed Vilanova must undergo further cancer treatment which would make it "impossible" for him to continue in his role.

"After looking at routine tests, there is [now] an option to continue treating his disease which means it will be impossible for him to continue as first-team coach of FC Barcelona," Rosell told reporters. "I want to ask for the maximum respect for him and his family.

"We have got together with all of the players and the coaching staff and we have decided not to play tomorrow in Poland [in a friendly against Lechia Gdansk]. It is a very big blow, a huge blow. But Barcelona has overcome many obstacles in in its history and this will be no exception."

The Barcelona squad, including Lionel Messi, was present in the front two rows of seats of the press conference as Rosell delivered the news.