Football - FACTBOX-Soccer-Five facts about Barca coach Vilanova

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Five facts about Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, who is to have surgery on Thursday.

Reuters

* Born Sept. 17, 1969 in Bellcaire d'Emporda in Spain

* On the youth team books at Barca, he went on to play for the likes of Celta Vigo and Mallorca as a midfielder. He was Barcelona B assistant coach with Pep Guardiola in 2007/08 and graduated to the first team with Guardiola in 2008, again as his number two.

* Vilanova was famously poked in the eye by Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho during a fracas at the Spanish Super Cup in August 2011.

* He had a operation on a tumour in his saliva glands in November 2011.

* Vilanova took over as Barca coach from Guardiola at the end of last season and presided over a seamless transition, guiding them to a nine-point lead at the top of La Liga after 16 games. (Compiled by Toby Davis; editing by Mark Meadows)

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