Goodbye Tito


Today the devastating news has been reported that former FCB coach Tito Vilanova has died at age 45 after a 3-year battle with cancer. Like all culers, we here at BFB are deeply saddened by his passing. He represented all the best characteristics that the club strives for: decency, humanity, humility, strength under pressure, and above all respect for the opponent. Here are a few thoughts from Isaiah:

We can read the slightly slapstick
discussions of our team with wry smiles. We can dissect the rulings of an opaque organization with our eyes rolled so far back in our heads we can see the wall behind us. Many of us live this team, we dream this team, we make room in our crowded schedules for matches at odd hours. Many of us have matchday rituals, we read the tabloids for the latest transfer and
locker room rumors, we hashtag our sporting politics (#sandrodimisio, of

And then sometimes it feels like the roof is caving in.

What was before a sporting loss, a get-well-champ kind of thing where maybe they’d get to make a Hallmark movie out of the triumphant return in a year or two, is now real.

I remember sitting in the pews of my grandmother’s funeral. There are words that have meaning. Stage 4, it has spread to the lungs, a matter of time. The last time you see someone is never what you expect. My grandfather lay on a bed miming his past, unaware that he wasn’t standing in his garage fixing an engine. My then girlfriend, then just a few days from becoming my fiancée, held my hand and we tried not to cry. I succeeded for some reason we can never know, but I wish I hadn’t.

When Abidal lifted the Champions League trophy, I cheered as loudly as any time during the match.

My grandmother’s cancer went into remission, of course. More words with meanings. I followed the journey down the road to those old church pews in rural Kansas from the comfort of my apartment in Brooklyn, receiving occasional updates by email or through conversation with my father. She was his *mother*, I have to remind myself sometimes. Of course he knows how it feels. He was the one giving the eulogy I stone-faced my way through. Of course he knows.

There are no words right now, other than to ask for the minute of silence at this weekend’s match to be a deep breath in for everyone. This isn’t about the league, this isn’t about 3 points, this isn’t about internal political crises. This is about celebrating a man’s life and legacy. Pass, offer, receive. Let the ball do the running. Smile sometimes, just because it’s nice.

Take care, Tito. I hope we can smile like you did.


Thanks for everything, Tito. You will be truly missed.

Categorized as Barcelona

By blitzen

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. Blitzen thanks so much for this post. I know its not much consolation at this time but I am so proud of the way Tito and the club made last season so special and inspiring. In the end that’s the best thing that sport has to offer: showing how its possible to overcome life’s obstacles and limitations with dignity.

  2. so so so sad.

    It’s been a season filled with off-the-field bad news,
    one after another, but this is just too much to take.

    RIP, Tito.

  3. Yeah man. I’ve never ever heard a club going through so much hardship on and off the field in a 1+ year span.

    Thanks for all the years giving your best to Barcelona. Thanks Blitzen and Isaiah.

    ps. @mods: My little brother showed me a Facebook post that was a letter that Tito wrote to Barcelona last year. Perhaps you could put it up.

  4. A man whose courage is vast.
    His will beyond any.
    A giant who stood tall in test.
    He fought wars on fronts so many.

    In his stead few could withstand,
    Let alone stand tall.
    His legend now one of Barca lore.
    Victor’s prize: pearly gate horns call.

    Now peace may you find Tito Vilanova,
    Your strength a shining light for all.

  5. There was something uniquely lovable about the man. I wish we had said so more often last year.

    1. Very true. It’s hard to explain why some things about certain people stick with you. Vilanova made the most of a crap hand, and didn’t deserve the treatment he got after he played it to the best of his ability and resources.

      I confess to being pretty destroyed by this news. Maybe the Abidal triumphs weakened my resolve. Can’t say for sure.

  6. Gracies Tito for all you’ve done on and off the pitch. You were a wonderful and important part of the Barca family. You will be missed, but most of all remembered and celebrated. My thoughts are with your family.

  7. Such sad news being 45 years old myself. How great it must have been to have experienced some of what he was a part of at Barca. The treble. Managing the club to league title. The joy of managing one of the greatest teams to ever set foot on a field. If I live to be 1000 I’ll never manage the likes of a Messi or Iniesta at Camp Nou. I’d say he did better in his brief 45 years than most of us will in our time. Cheers Tito…

  8. Glad he will always be remembered for 100 point season and an integral part of the best Barça in history. Thoughts with his loved ones.

  9. Rest in peace Tito, you will be trully missed. all strenght to his family. Visca Tito!

Comments are closed.