La Liga: Show of support for outgoing Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova

(FromL) Barcelona's captain Carles Puyol, Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi and Barcelona's goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto attend a press conference given by Barcelona's President Sandro Rosell in Barcelona on July 19, 2013. Rosell confirmed during a news conference today that coach Tito Vilanova stepped down because he has suffered a relapse of cancer.  AFP PHOTO/ QUIQUE GARCIA        (Photo credit should read QUIQUE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: Lionel Messi: Among Barca players who attended Friday's press conference

Lionel Messi was among a host of sports stars to offer support to Tito Vilanova following the announcement that the Barcelona coach was having to step down for health reasons.

The support for Vilanova was not limited to the world of football either. Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador, the two-time Tour de France winner, wrote on his Twitter account: "From the Tour I'm sending lots of encouragement and strength to Tito Vilanova like all those fight against this damn illness." NBA star Pau Gasol, who was born in Barcelona and played for his home-town club before moving to the United states, added: "The first and most important thing in life is health. My best wishes to Tito Vilanova in this difficult moment. #animsTito #GetWellSoon". Barca are set to name Vilanova's successor next week, with the likes of Marcelo Bielsa, Gerardo Martino, Andre Villas-Boas, Michael Laudrup, Luis Enrique and Rubi, who recently joined the Catalan club's coaching staff, being linked with the post in the Spanish media.

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