On Wednesday, news of Tito Vilanova’s cancer reoccurrence was broken. By Thursday, he was in the hospital having a tumor removed from his neck. Now, two days later, Vilanova is going home.
The 44-year-old Barcelona head coach was released from the hospital today after a Thursday procedure to remove a tumor from his parotid gland. It’s the second time in 13 months Vilanova’s undergone surgery.
According to statement released by the club, the operation went “as planned”:
“The Barca coach has left hospital this Saturday after Thursday’s operation,” a Barcelona statement read. “Given the post-surgery progress, Tito Vilanova has been discharged from hospital on Saturday afternoon. The Barca coach’s operation on Thursday went as planned.”
Just three days ago, we were talking about finding replacement coaches and speculating how mush time Vilanova might miss. As much as anything, it was a way to distract ourselves from possibilities we knew too little about.
Thankfully, things appear to be at a manageable state (as manageable as something like cancer gets). Vilanova will recover from surgery then start six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation.
In their first game without him, Barcelona won 3-1 on Saturday, taking three points at Real Valladolid. The victory restored their nine-point Primera Division lead over Atlético Madrid.
Nobody’s talked about potential timetables for Vilanova’s return, and for now, that’s just fine. It’s good to hear something positive, like being released from the hospital after a successful procedure. The soccer can wait.
Catch up on all of Friday’s EURO qualification action, as two more teams have booked a ticket to France.
Spain 4-0 Luxembourg
Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla hadn’t scored a competitive goal for Spain in more than six years, but he scored twice today to help earn his country a berth in EURO 2016. Cazorla and Paco Alcacer scored all four goals for the Spanish, while Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas became Spain’s all-time leader in assists. However, both David Silva of Manchester City and Alvaro Morata of Juventus were forced off with injuries, with Morata’s looking to be serious.
Switzerland 7-0 San Marino
Switzerland led just 1-0 at halftime, but a six-goal second half which included three penalty kicks means the Swiss have secured qualification from Group E for EURO 2016. As expected, Switzerland dominated every aspect of the match against minnows San Marino, and Vladimir Petkovic’s side had seven different goalscorers.
[ MORE: Thursday’s EURO 2016 roundup — Northern Ireland qualify ]
England 2-0 Estonia
England remained perfect in Group E, taking their ninth win from nine matches today at Wembley. Theo Walcott‘s great scoring form from Arsenal carried over to the national side, opening the scoring just before halftime. In the second half, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy came on as a substitute and assisted to Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who made it 2-0. With a few minutes to play, Tottenham teenager Dele Alli got a short run in his England debut.
Elsewhere in EURO qualifying
Macedonia 0-2 Ukraine
Slovakia 0-1 Belarus
Slovenia 1-1 Lithuania
Liechtenstein 0-2 Sweden
Moldova 1-2 Russia
Montenegro 2-3 Austria
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.”
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
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.