Barcelona announces departure of head coach Tito Vilanova

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Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova steps down as the team's coach to get treatment for throat cancer. (Getty Images)

Barcelona coach (Getty Images)

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova stepped down from his position to get treatment for throat cancer, the team announced Friday.

Vilanova, 44, traveled to the United States in January for chemotherapy and radiotherapy following surgery on his parotid gland in December. He suffered a relapse after first having a tumor removed from his throat in November 2011, but returned to the club the following March.

 "This is a very difficult blow to the Club, but we have overcome many difficult setbacks," team president Sandro Rosell said. "We will most likely announce the name of the next FC Barcelona manager early next week."

Former coach Pep Guardiola, who was replaced by Vilanova only a year ago, accused the club of using his former assistant's illness against him.

"He visited me once in New York when I'd just arrived, but during my recovery from the operation I was there for two months and I didn't see him. He's my friend and I needed him, but he wasn't there for me. I would have done things differently. I won't say anything else about this," Vilanova said about Guardiola.