Vilanova tragically lost his long battle with cancer earlier today - and the world of football, including former Real Madrid coach Mourinho, have been paying their respects to one of Spanish football’s most popular figures.
“Tito Vilanova's passing is a sad day for football, for Barcelona and most importantly for his family and friends,” the Blues’ boss said in a statement issued via Chelsea’s official website. “On behalf of everybody at Chelsea Football Club I send my deepest condolences at this most difficult time.”
Mourinho issued a heartfelt apology after poking Vilanova in the eye during a particularly tempestuous Spanish Super Cup Clasico between La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona in 2011.
“I should not have done what I did, obviously not,” Mourinho told Fox Sports in August 2012. “The person who messed up there was me.”
The two coaches had made their peace - and Mourinho stated at the start of this season that if he had three wishes, he would use one of them to cure the health problems of the ex-Barcelona boss, who won the La Liga title last season in his one and only campaign in charge of the Catalan giants.