All of a sudden, Barça’s record start no longer seems as important.
According to reports out of Spain, Barcelona head coach Tito Vilanova has suffered a recurrence of the cancerous condition that forced the 44-year-old to undergo an operation 12 months ago.
While the club has yet to confirm the news, all of Barça’s regularly scheduled media activities have been cancelled. The club confirmed there would be a further announcement at some point on Wednesday.
Last year, Vilanova underwent an operation to remove a tumor from his parotid gland. At the time, he was an assistant to then-head coach Pep Guardiola.
This summer, Vilanova was appointed Guardiola’s successor and has since led the club to its best ever La Liga start (15-0-1). After their Sunday win over second place Atlético Madrid, Barça sits nine points clear at the top of Spain’s Primera Division.
Per ESPN FC, further reports have Barcelona already reaching out to potential replacements to step in for the remainder of the season. While you’d like to hold out hope the club’s announcement could cast early reports in a speculative, pessimistic light, this appears to be a very sad day at Barcelona.
After scoring five goals against Newcastle United, Sergio Aguero may have to wait a bit of time to get back to scoring in the Premier League.
The Manchester City striker lasted just 25 minutes in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier on Thursday, as he was stretchered off with a hamstring injury.
Aguero underwent testing in Argentina, and told the local media “I think I’m going to be out for a month.”
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Manchester City and Argentina teammate Nicolas Otamendi said Aguero was in tears in the dressing room, and some reports have penned the injury as a torn hamstring.
If Aguero were to be ruled out for a month, he would miss City’s Champions League clash vs. Sevilla, as well as the massive Manchester derby away at United on October 25.
To make matters worse for City supporters, David Silva was forced off after just ten minutes while playing for Spain today. Silva took a harsh challenge from behind, and hobbled off with what looked to be an ankle injury. If Silva’s injury ends up being more than just a knock, City could be without their two most important players in the attack.
Mario Gotze could be out of action until 2016 after picking up a groin injury on international duty.
The Bayern Munich midfielder suffered a tendon tear in his abductor muscle while stretching for a ball in Germany’s 1-0 loss to Ireland in EURO qualifiers on Thursday. He was taken off in the 35th minute.
Ruled out for 10-12 weeks, Gotze is likely to miss the rest of the first half of the season for Bayern. Their last league match of 2015 is on December 19, which is 11 weeks away. The Bundesliga then goes on winter break, with Bayern’s next match not until January 23.
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Gotze will miss both of Bayern’s upcoming Champions League matches against Arsenal, which is good news for the Gunners as they are in desperate need of a result.
However, Arjen Robben is back in training and will make his return to action within the coming weeks. After starting the Bundesliga seasons with eight wins out of eight, Robben’s return would add just another weapon to Pep Guardiola’s dominant attack.
Robben has not played since being injured in early September while playing for the Netherlands, and could feature for Bayern against Werder Bremen next week.