Stiliyan Petrov retires as captain of Aston Villa

He said:

"I’ve never been a person for making grand statements. I’ve only ever got on with my job, while remaining grateful to have great team-mates, great people around me and, most of all, a fantastic family.

They have been powerful pillars of support when I have needed them most over the past year.

To my wife, Paulina, and my sons, Kristiyan and Stiliyan, I love you very much and I will always for your constant love and support.

Stiliyan Petrov has announced his retirement from football Credit: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Also to my mum and dad, my brother and Paulina’s mum and the people who have been closest to me throughout this time – you know who you are and I love you all.

Each and every day I thank God for giving me the opportunity to still be with my family.

Football has been the other great love of my life, so it is with a heavy heart that I am announcing my retirement from the game.

The emotions are overwhelming really, but the continued support of family, friends and the great people I have come to know will make it easier for me to move on from the only life I’ve ever known."

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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.