Petrov supported by 'most passionate fans'

"I remember when I was a young player at CSKA Sofia and the good life was all I was interested in. Celtic came in for me and I moved to Glasgow, to another country, to a new world. I didn’t speak the language and I thought it would never happen for me. I knew nobody.

Fortunately, I met people who helped me to turn my life around. I came to know great teammates who showed me the proper way, the way I had to be if I was going to be a serious professional and compete at a high level.

A fan holds Petrov's shirt during his battle with leukaemia Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Archive

I came to appreciate so much the opportunity to work with that level of professional people because it made me something like them.

At Celtic Football Club and at Aston Villa Football Club I was privileged to live a life competing at a high level and playing the game I love, supported by the most passionate fans."

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Villa captain retires

Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov has announced his retirement from football after a battle with leukaemia. 3,000 fans will today wear masks of Petrov to mark his retirement.