Football: Barcelona intent on finding swift replacement for ailing coach Tito Vilanova

Barcelona's coach Tito Vilanova gestures during the Champions League semi-final second leg soccer match against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Barcelona were mourning the enforced exit of Vilanova on Saturda
Barcelona's coach Tito Vilanova gestures during the Champions League semi-final second leg soccer match against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Barcelona were mourning the enforced exit of Vilanova on Saturday, July 20, 2013, but there was also a sense the Spanish champions were prepared to move swiftly to appoint a successor and focus on preparations for next season. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (Reuters) - Barcelona were mourning the enforced exit of ailing coach Tito Vilanova on Saturday, but there was also a sense the Spanish champions were prepared to move swiftly to appoint a successor and focus on preparations for next season.

President Sandro Rosell made the announcement late on Friday that Vilanova, who has been battling throat cancer the past two years, needed more treatment that meant he would be unable to remain in charge of the first team.

A replacement for the 44-year-old, who was promoted from assistant coach to succeed Pep Guardiola at the end of the 2011/2012 season, would likely be announced early next week, Rosell added.

Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia reported that Joan Francesc Ferrer, known as "Rubi", could be in line to take over. Ferrer led Girona to the second division play-offs last season and was appointed Vilanova's assistant for the coming campaign to help with technical analysis of Barca's rivals.