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Getting To Know: Tito Vilanova

Full name: Francesc Vilanova Bayó
Position: Assistant manager
Date of birth: 17 September 1969
Place of birth: Bellcaire d'Empordà, Spain
Height: 1.82 m (5 ft 11 in)

Francesc "Tito" Vilanova was born in a small town of Bellcaire d'Empordà, 88 miles to the north-east of Barcelona in the providence of Girona. Like most of the team, and the coaching staff for that matter, Tito too joined La Masia. He did so in 1984 as a midfielder and four years later he joined Barcelona B. He continued to sharpen his skills there for another two years during which he played 52 games and scored 6 times.

Tito realized he will not be able to join Johan Cruyff's Dream Team, so he left FC Barcelona for Segunda División outfit UE Figueres. Vilanova was an important player there and he led the team to a promotion play-off in his second season with the club, but they lost to Cádiz. After two season, 72 games and 6 goals he moved to the Primera Divisón side Celta Vigo.

Tito wasn't featured much in the three year stay in Galicia. He was mostly used as a substitue, but he was given the occasional start. All in all it wasn't a very successful stint in the top flight league, but the 26 games played and one goal scored turned out to be his only action in the Primera División.

Tito went on to play for three second division clubs in the next three years, CD Badajoz, RCD Mallorca and UE Lleida. He played the most minutes at Badajoz followed by Lleida, but while he was playing on the island of Mallorca the club won a promotion.

After Vilanova left Lleida, in 1998, he joined Elche CF for two seasons. He played semi-regular football there and in two seasons amassed 29 appearances and one tally. In 2000, Tito Vilanova joined UDA Gramanet and after his second season there, in 2002, he concluded his playing career.

However, Vilanova couldn't stay away from football for long so he quickly joined Tarrassa FC as technical director. There he was in the year 2007 approached by FC Barcelona officials to join the B team as an assistant manager and the right hand man to Josep Guardiola. The two immediately fit together and started working their magic. In their first season together they won a promotion to the Segunda División B.

In June 2008 Guardiola took over as first team manager and Tito joined him on the bench on the Camp Nou. Since then Barcelona have won every possible trophy, many of them on more than one occasion. Vilanova's contributions to Guardiola's Dream Team often get overlooked, but the assistant is a very important component in the success that FC Barcelona has had in the last three seasons.

Profile
Tito Vilanova, just like Guardiola, does a good job at man-managing. It is easy to work with him as he is not hot-headed, he knows what he wants the players to do and knows how to explain that to them. On the occasions when he has to take over as the manager of the club, when Pep is unavailable, he performs in exemplary fashion.

Honors
As assistant manager

  • Barcelona B

    • Tercera División (1): 2007-08

  • FC Barcelona

    • La Liga (3): 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11

    • Copa del Rey (1): 2008-09

    • Supercopa de España (2): 2009, 2010

    • UEFA Champions League (1): 2008-09, 2010-11

    • UEFA Super Cup (1): 2009

    • FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2009

Tito Vilanova signed an one year extension on the same day as Pep Guardiola did and like Pep's, his contract also expires in June 2012.

Next up: Well, there is no next up as we have gotten to the end of the Getting To Know series. In the future you can expect reappearances of this feature days after FC Barcelona make a new signing. Until then, if you want to get to know somebody else on the (current) Barcelona staff ask (nicely) in the comments and maybe, just maybe, you request will be approved.

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