Bulgaria's Cancer-Stricken Petrov Remains Aston Villa Captain

Sports | July 6, 2012, Friday // 08:23|  views

Stiliyan with his suprise birthday cake from Villa staff and players. Photo by Aston Villa

Bulgarian Stiliyan Petrov, who was shockingly diagnosed with acute leukemia in March, will remain Aston Villa captain as he continues his battle with the disease, the team coach has confirmed.

Paul Lambert broke the news as Stiliyan Petrov turned up at the club's training complex for the first time since his chemotherapy treatment began and marked his 33rd birthday with a simple, but highly emotional gathering.

Lambert however stressed the importance of the player's health over football issues.

"The main thing is Stiliyan being okay in his life. Football is a secondary thing and doesn't even come close to it. It's his life and that's the most important thing," Lambert told AVTV.

"I went to see him the day before Arsenal played Norwich and there was a bit of trepidation when I first went in because I didn't know what I would be walking in to. But when I saw him I thought he looked great. His wife was there and I was delighted for him.

"To see him coming back today was great. It will be great too that, God-willing, he will be totally okay. That's the most important thing. It is for everyone to see him about the place.

"The support of the fans is vital. Villa fans have done great by him and he'll certainly still need them and their support. There's no doubt about it.

"He is a young guy with a wife and two kids and my main concern is his health. He will need that support."

The former CSKA Sofia midfielder joined Villa from Celtic in 2006 and has since gone on to make 186 appearances for the Birmingham club, being named captain in 2009.

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Tags: coach, captain, Paul Lambert, Aston Villa, Bulgarian, Stiliyan Petrov


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