TITO VILANOVA will stay on as Barcelona boss as he fights cancer for the second time.
The shocking news that Vilanova, 44, has suffered a relapse has overshadowed this morning?s Champions League draw in Nyon, where Arsenal could be pitted against Barcelona.
He will have another tumour removed from his salivary gland today and undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy for six weeks.
Barca president Sandro Rosell said: ?Our manager is Tito ? he is in charge and we will try to be as normal as possible for the few weeks that he will not be here.
?I saw him today very worried about his family and how his children, his wife and his parents would react.
?We all have to leave him alone, so he can deal with the situation with his family. Honestly, I liked what I saw in Tito?s face this evening.?
Vilanova was initially diagnosed with cancer last year when he was still Pep Guardiola?s No 2.
It looked like he had beaten it after having a tumour removed from his parotid gland ? the largest of the salivary glands.
Vilanova took over at the Nou Camp when Guardiola quit at the end of last season.
He has led Barca to the best-ever start by a team in La Liga. After 16 games, they have dropped only two points ? and are nine clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Vilanova?s No 2 Jordi Roura will take charge of the team on Saturday in Valladolid.
Barcelona technical director Andoni Zubizarreta firmly denied any contact had been made with Guardiola with a view to a possible return.
He said: ?No, there has been no contact with Guardiola or anyone else at any time. Tito Vilanova is the manager and continues to be the manager.?
Vilanova has had regular check-ups since his first bout of cancer and the last one picked up the new problem this week.
The only interview Vilanova ever gave on the subject was screened last Sunday in a programme that raised funds for cancer research.
President Rosell added: ?I was very emotional watching Tito saying what he said about his illness. It?s curious that three days later this happens.
?But he is with the best doctors and I have no doubt it will go very well.?