It may have been the news that no-one wanted to give, or to hear for that matter, but unfortunately, the rumours were true. FC Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova has stepped down, as he departs for New York to battle throat cancer for the third time, leading by example right up until this press conference. Why just this morning, Tito was leading training, presumably in spite of his deteriorating condition, putting on a brave face for the cameras.
For so long, he has put football first; nay, he’s put FC Barcelona first, and asked for very little in return. Even in the face of unfounded criticism, Tito kept a smile on his face and went on about his work; perhaps even more so than Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova truly was and is a special human being. A role model for us all, and when he beats cancer once again, I think it’s safe to say that we would be honoured if he could one day return to the Camp Nou dugout.
But what can Barcelona do in the mean-time? With roughly a month until the start of the season, Barcelona need to find a new coach, and quick. For all intents and purposes, this probably rules out any coach currently employed by another club. Negotiating a fair compensation package can be a lengthy process – and we’ve already established that time is of the essence. Perhaps something was already in place, to specifically cover a terrible scenario like this, but in the absence of proof, one has to assume that Barça will be looking for a "free agent" – that is, any coach currently without a club.
Marcelo Bielsa, Jupp Heynckes, or maybe someone else entirely? Someone familiar with the club, with its beliefs, it’s values, and it’s system; a former player perhaps? Or better yet, a former manager?
How about Frank Rijkaard?
Currently unemployed after a spell with Saudi Arabia, Rijkaard reportedly turned down the previously vacant Paris Saint-Germain job less than a month ago; was he holding out for something else? Keeping himself available on the off-chance that he would be required elsewhere?
Think about it, he’s not only familiar with the system, and the club, but with each and every one of the players, or at least the vast majority of them anyway. A firm favourite of the likes of Lionel Messi – among others – is there a better option on the market than former Barcelona coach, Frank Rijkaard?
More from Barca Blaugranes:
- Official: Tito Vilanova Resigns As FC Barcelona Manager
- FC Barcelona News: 19 July 2013; Training Sessions Continue for First Team, Neymar's Shirt Number Announced
- FC Barcelona 2012/13 Season in Review: Adriano Correia
- Pep Guardiola Brings Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich, Barcelona Now Count on Sergi Roberto
- Differences In the Regions of Spain Through Football: Castile