Former Barcelona assistant coach Juan Carlos Unzue has announced that he is suffering from a rare neurological disorder amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is a type of motor neurone disease.
FC Barcelona made the news official on their Twitter handle, posting, "Juan Carlos, you have all our support and solidarity. Stay strong, coach!"
The 53-year-old was assistant to Luis Enrique between 2014 and 2017.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Enrique, who is now the manager of the Spanish national team, attended a conference held by Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu. Speaking at the conference, Unzue said he wants to raise more awareness of the still incurable illness.
"I feel privileged to be able to have lived the life I have and now I feel privileged about what I will be able to do about ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), which is a disease that anyone can get," he said.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord leading to loss in muscle movement.
Barcelona's arch-rivals Real Madrid also released a statement on Thursday in support of the coach.
The club wrote, "We at Real Madrid C. F. wish to send all of our affection and best wishes to Juan Carlos UnzuÃ©," adding, "We will be there for him and his family in the battle against this illness and offer all of our support and strength."