Blatter mourns Vilanova’s passing
© AFP

Following the death last week of former Barça coach Tito Vilanova, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has written to Barcelona Chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu to express his deep regret at the news.

“Among Tito’s many qualities I would like to highlight his loyalty to his club, his commitment to good football and the immense courage and dignity he displayed throughout his battle against illness,” wrote Blatter.

Vilanova died on Friday 25 April at the Quiron Clinic in Barcelona. He was 45 and had been fighting cancer of the salivary gland, which he had been diagnosed with in November 2011.

“The football community shares your pain and we sincerely hope that our words can offer you some solace at this difficult time,” added the FIFA President, who had earlier expressed his grief at the sad news on his Twitter account.

Barcelona setting up a special area at the Camp Nou in memory of the coach, who guided the club past the 100-point mark in their 2013 league title win. Over the weekend some 53,000 people visited the commemorative area to pay him their last respects, while a memorial was held in Barcelona Cathedral for him on Monday 28 April.