Stiliyan Petrov hangs his boots – a look back

As the dust settles on Sir Alex Ferguson’s second and final retirement announcement (fellow Scot Moyes has already been named as Fergie’s replacement), another retirement has been received by the footballing world, perhaps with a bit more regret. That of former Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov. In a statement published on the Aston Villa website, the 33-year-old declared ‘with a heavy heart’ his ‘retirement from the game’. The Bulgarian went seeking treatment for what he thought was a bout of the common cold March last year only to be diagnosed with acute leukaemia. Since then he has been off training and undergoing treatment. Despite indicating in his statement that he is out of grave danger and has been undergoing lighter treatment since August 2012, Petrov has decided to hang his boots and pursue a new challenge. Part of this, he says, will be getting more involved in the foundation he has started which seeks to address the issues faced by sufferers of acute leukaemia.

Aston Villa fans will be particularly affected by the loss of their captain who always gave 110% on the field. Having joined the club in 2006 after seven years at Celtic, he soon became a dependable cog in the Villa midfield. Martin O’Neil exploited the leadership qualities in Petrov by making him captain at the start of the 2009-2010 season and the Bulgarian helped the Claret and Blues finish sixth in the premier league and reach the FA Cup semis. Petrov’s professional attitude and commitment to the cause was replicated in his international appearances and saw him named Bulgaria captain when Dimitar Berbatov announced his international retirement in 2010.  

Should Stiliyan ever decide to again be involved in the beautiful game, the entire football fraternity will welcome him with open arms.