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Vilanova expected to return in January

ESPN staff
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Barcelona could welcome back Tito Vilanova in January © Getty Images
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Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova is expected to return to the club in mid-January after undergoing treatment for cancer earlier this month.

Vilanova, 44, recently suffered a recurrence of the illness which he was diagnosed with in 2011 and the Spaniard had surgery on his saliva glands two weeks ago.

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell confirmed that Vilanova will resume his duties at the club next month, although it is yet to be decided if he will be healthy enough to take charge immediately.

"He'll be back within 15 or 20 days, but he must spend some days at the hospital and rest," Rosell said. "He will mix work with his treatment. The most important thing is his health. Right now football comes second."

Assistant Jordi Roura has taken the reigns at Barcelona in Vilanova's absence and he is expected to remain on the touchline for the La Liga leaders' next match against Espanyol on January 6.

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