After the joy came heartbreak. Barcelona fans had been in a state of ecstasy on Tuesday following the news that club symbols Carles Puyol, Xavi and Lionel Messi had all agreed new contracts at the Catalan club. Then, later, it emerged that Eric Abidal was ready to return after his liver transplant. It was one of the best days imaginable for fans of the Blaugrana. Today, however, is surely one of the worst.
Reports in the Catalan press on Wednesday morning revealed coach Tito Vilanova had suffered a relapse of the tumor in his mouth which had kept him sidelined for a large part of the 2011-12 campaign. Barca cancelled its Christmas party for the media and president Sandro Rosell's address was called off. Tuesday had been cheerful for the Catalan club, but nobody was feeling festive now.