BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 02: Future head coach Tito Vilanova of FC Barcelona looks on from the bench. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
17th September 1969: Born Francesc Vilanova i Bayo in Bellcaire d’Empordia, Girona, Catolonia.
1984: Joined Barcelona youth academy. Continued there until 1988. Whilst there he became friends with Jordi Roura (current assistant manager) and Aureli Altimira (current fitness coach). Future stars Pep Guardiola and Guillermo Amor were also part of the group.
1988: Promoted from the academy to Barcelona B at the age of nineteen. Playing as a central midfielder for the B team.
1990: After 52 performances and 6 goals, Tito failed to break into the first team and subsequently moved to Figueres. Vilanova helped the Catalan side to third place, achieving their highest second division placing.
1992: With the same goal tally as his time at Barça B, but with 20 games more, Tito moved to Celta de Vigo. This marked a big step forward for Vilanova as it was his first time playing in the top division. While Tito experienced success at Celta it was in stark contrast to ex-roommate and friend Pep Guardiola. In 1992 Pep made the leap from Barcelona B to the first team, an achievement Tito would never be able to boast.
1995: Three years came and went for Tito at Celta with playing appearance scarce. The now 26 year old moved to division two side Club Deportivo Badajoz. But Tito only spent a season at the club, initiating a period of transition for the Catalan. In the next three seasons Vilanova would play for three different clubs with appearances becoming rarer and rarer.
1996: Joins Real Club Deportivo Mallorca where his ten game contributions helped promote Mallorca into the top flight.
1997: Switches from Mallorca to Unió Esportiva Lleida, back in Tito’s homeland of Catalonia. Doubling his Mallorca appearances, Vilanova scored three goals for his new club. One of the goals coming against a Barça side coached by a face Tito was to become familiar with. José Mourinho was the deputy coach, placed in charge for this Copa Catlunya game, as Tito became the first player to score against a team guided by the "Special One."
1998: Moves to Elche Clud de Fútbol, S.A.D before retiring at UDA Gramenet.
2006: After a four year break from football, Tito turned his head to management and became technical director at third tier side Terrassa.
2007: While Tito got technical at Terrassa, his old friend Pep Guardiola was being approached for the Barcelona B head coach role. Of course when Pep got the job he turned to his La Masia roommate for assistance. Tito joined as assistant coach and the pair oversaw a Barça B promotion into the second tier of Spanish football.
2008: The Barcelona board were impressed and promoted Guardiola to the first team bench. Unlike his playing career Tito impressed enough for Pep to take him with him and the long term friends ruled the Barça bench.
2009: Pep and Tito oversaw the most successful season in the club’s history. After winning the Copa del Rey, the Champions League, La Liga, the Club World Cup, the Spanish Supercup and the European Supercup, Barcelona completed a historic sextuple. Leaving Pep and Tito not complacent but hungry for more titles.
2010: Barça finished 2010 by retaining the league, making that seven titles in two years, and plaudits flooded in for Pep while Tito remained in the shadows.
2011: With Sandro Rosell at the reigns, Barcelona signed David Villa and Javier Mascherano. The injection of experience helped to retain the league title as both produced pivotal moments during the campaign. The end of the 2010-11 season ended in the best way any Blaugrane could have dreamed of. Barcelona not only beat Manchester United, but they outclassed them in every way on their way to the 2011 UEFA Champions League crown. The master class performance began to raise the question was this the best side to ever play the game? Pep remained coolheaded and so did his right-hand man Tito.
August 18th 2011: José Mourinho gets a little too hands on with Barça’s future head coach.
"Mou, your finger points the way" Madrid fans were right but not in the way that they had expected.
2012: 2012 is a big year for Tito. After a long, tough season Barça conceded the league to Real Madrid and an exhausted Pep announced he was to step down. The media was rife with speculation on who was to fill the biggest of boots left behind by Pep. Was it Bilbao’s Bielsa or ex-Barça man Luis Enrique? Maybe even Xavi or Puyol? The whole of Catalonia held their breath as the day of the press conference arrived.
April 27th 2012: After an emotional speech from Pep, up came president Rosell. "Tito" was the name and the fans breathed a sigh of relief the board’s decision to keep it in the family. The man from the shadow emerges but only time will tell if he is to reach the heights of his predecessor.
For now we must eagerly wait for the start if the new season as the Tito era begins.
2013: Another sextuple?
Will Tito be as successful as Pep?
Yes (81 votes)
No (47 votes)
128 total votes