BARCELONA - Barcelona have appointed Francesc 'Tito' Vilanova as the successor to coach Pep Guardiola, who announced Friday he is leaving the club after four hugely successful years at the helm.
Vilanova, 42, played only briefly as a professional in Spain's top flight, notably with Celta Vigo, before turning to coaching at the end of his career and finding his way back to the club of his youth.
After announcing that Guardiola would quit the Spanish giants, club president Sandro Rosell said: "The new coach will be Tito Vilanova."
Vilanova came through Barcelona's youth ranks but after failing to break into the first team he continued his playing career with a number of lower league clubs before retiring in 2002.
He rejoined the Catalans as a youth coach in 2007, helping Barcelona's B side to promotion.
Vilanova was promoted to first team duties, working alongside Guardiola, for the 2008-2009 season, by the end of which the team had won six major trophies including the Champions League.