Petrov at Villa match after leukaemia shock
Published 14:39 31/03/12 By MirrorFootball
Aston Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov attended today's home Barclays Premier League clash with Chelsea - the day after being diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
The Bulgarian international will start treatment for the illness in a London hospital on Monday.
But the midfielder, who has been at Villa for six years, still opted to watch Alex McLeish's side in action against the Blues.
Villa players wore 'support Stan' messages on their training kit whilst warming up for the game.
A message of support was to be relayed over the stadium public address system five minutes before kick off.
Villa fans were also planning to show their support with an ovation after 19 minutes of the game in honour of Petrov who wears the number 19 shirt.
Villa officials are planning to talk to Petrov about reports in the Bulgarian media claiming he was to retire from football but his agent, Stephen Hughes of Base Soccer, dismissed those stories.
"It is not true that Stiliyan has said he is retiring from football," Hughes told Sky Sports.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist sent the club's best wishes to Petrov.
McCoist said: "On behalf of everybody at the football club - every member of staff and every supporter - we wish Stiliyan Petrov all the very best in his fight for a more important thing than anything and that's his health.
"He was a fantastic Old Firm player and he is a top player and we wish him all the best."