Bulgaria, Aston Villa Captain Stan Petrov Begins Battle for Life

Sports | March 31, 2012, Saturday // 11:26|  views

Bulgaria and Aston Villa captain Petrov has been diagnozed with leukemia. Photo by BGNES

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish has appealed to his team to play for Bulgarian national and Aston Villa skipper Stiliyan "Stan" Petrov during the Saturday face-off with Chelsea.

The shocking news that Petrov, the captain of Bulgaria's national football team and the English club Aston Villa, has been diagnosed with leukemia was reported one day earlier. Aston Villa was considering cancelling the game with Chelsea over the news, but Petrov, himself, has insisted on going on with the schedule.

McLeish stated that he believes Stan's fighting spirit will help him in his battle to overcome the acute leukemia.

"But he's a captain, he's a leader, he's a defiant guy and he's fought many battles on the pitch and I'm sure this is another one he'll win," the Aston Villa manager said.

He pointed out that the illness is in the early stages and Petrov will get the best medical attention possible and will recover.

"I spoke to him and he was typical Stan, defiant, but I think obviously he's concerned about how it's affected his loved ones," McLeish reported, but added he was unsure whether Petrov would be able to attend today's home clash with Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Petrov wrote to a friend on Facebook: "This is the end of football! I am beginning a heavy battle for my life, brother!

"The Villa Board received news today that our long-standing captain Stiliyan Petrov has been diagnosed with Acute Leukemia," Aston Villa announced on its official website on Friday.

The Bulgarian midfielder has developed a fever following the Arsenal game last Saturday and subsequently underwent tests conducted by Dr Ian McGuinness, the announcement explained

Hematology experts confirmed the cancer diagnosis on Friday.

"We expect to learn more about Stiliyan's situation in due course and we have moved quickly to support him and his family," the Aston Villa club said, adding, "During this time we ask that Stiliyan's privacy is placed ahead of all inquiries and trust that we will share information as we receive it."

"Stiliyan is cherished by many and he will get from Villa every ounce of love and support that we have to help bring this to a positive conclusion," the club stated.

Messages of support for Petrov flooded in after the news was confirmed in the Villa statement. A section of Villa fans have called off a planned protest before today's game.

"I would like to think the club and fans will be united. I'm sure the fans will be galvanized with their support of Stan," McLeish further said.

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Tags: Stiliyan Petrov, leukemia, cancer, Aston Villa, national football team, Chelsea, skipper, Alex McLeish


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