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Soccer-Reaction to the death of former Barca coach Tito Vilanova

Reuters

BARCELONA, April 25 (Reuters) - Reaction from the world of soccer after the death of former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova at the age of 45 following a battle with cancer:

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"He is an eternal human and footballing reference for FC Barcelona," club president Josep Bartomeu said on Twitter. "Thanks for all that you have taught us. Rest in peace."

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"For all that we lived together. I will always remember you my friend. Thanks for the fight. My love and support to your family," said former Barca and France defender Eric Abidal who now plays for Monaco and also had a fight with cancer during his time at the Nou Camp.

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"Tito Vilanova's passing is a sad day for football, for Barcelona and most importantly for his family and friends," said Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, a former assistant coach at the Nou Camp.

"On behalf of everybody at Chelsea Football Club I send my deepest condolences at this most difficult time."

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"It's a tragedy," said Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque. "A man of 45 years has left us with half his life ahead of him. I was able to speak to him also when it was known he was ill and he was an approachable person, always ready to help."

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"Spanish football is in mourning," said Jorge Perez, general secretary of the Spanish football federation. "After (former Spain coach) Luis Aragones (died in February) now this tragedy has happened. Our condolences for Barcelona and all his family."

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"I'm speechless. You have been and will be always an example. I will never forget you," said Barcelona and Spain playmaker Andres Iniesta.

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"Tito Vilanova, one of the best coaches I had in my career. Thanks for everything you gave us," Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

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"Thanks for everything Tito. May your soul rest in peace," said Barcelona and Cameroon midfielder Alex Song.

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"Lots of support to all of Tito's family and friends. An example of fighting and strength for all of us," said Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos.

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"I'm saddened by the death of Tito Vilanova who was a great fighter in life and on the pitch. We will miss him," said Juventus coach Antonio Conte.

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"Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Tito Vilanova. So talented, so admired, so young," said former Barca and England striker Gary Lineker. (Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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