Stiliyan Petrov: Aston Villa Captain Announces Retirement to Battle Leukaemia
"I would like to thank all of the people who have left messages of support. The response has been overwhelming and I appreciate it very much," Petrov said.
"This is a difficult time for my family and myself and I ask people to respect my privacy. With the help and love of my family, my teammates, all of my friends in football, Aston Villa and all of the fans, I am sure I will beat this illness and I am determined to do this.
"I saw the picture released yesterday by Fabrice Muamba, my fellow player, and it has inspired me as has all of the support in the past 24 hours.
"For me, football will have to take a back seat for a while, but I'm here to support my teammates today and I will continue to support them as I know they will support me. Thank you to everyone."
The Villa midfielder and Bulgarian national team star was one of the most consistent players in England for several years, but now he has a new opponent to battle.
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Petrov will begin treatment next week in London as he tries to defeat leukaemia. The Bulgarian is a true professional and his retirement is a very sad thing for football.
The last few weeks have been difficult for the football world, but the community is strong and will give all the support Petrov and his family need to help him battle leukaemia and defeat it.
Petrov joined Aston Villa from Celtic in 2006 and made 30 appearances for Villa this season.
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