Former Bulgarian Captain Stiliyan Petrov Returns to Aston Villa
Former captain of the Bulgarian national football team Stiliyan Petrov returned to his last professional football club Aston Villa after accepting an invitation from manager Tim Sherwood.
Sherwood had invited Petrov to join his backroom team to serve as an inspiration for Aston Villa's battle to stay in the Premier League, the Telegraph reports.
Petrov, who had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia in March 2012, retired from football in May 2013, but managed to overcome his illness and is currently in remission.
The Bulgarian was in the dressing room at half time during Aston Villa's 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.
Stan is also expected to be present during the FA quarterfinal against the same opponent on Saturday.
Sherwood believes that Petrov is to have a positive impact on the team's battle to avoid relegation to the Championship.
The manager pointed to the admiration players have for Petrov's achievements on the pitch and for his personal battle.
Sherwood highlighted the great character demonstrated by Stan and had asked him to relax the players as much as possible.
He had been offered similar position during the management of previous Aston Villa coach Paul Lambert, but Stan had to retire in order to continue fighting his disease.
The legendary midfielder started his career in Bulgarian CSKA Sofia, before moving to Celtic and Aston Villa.
Petrov was captain of both the Bulgarian national football team and Aston Villa and holds the record for most appearances with the national team – 106.
In September 2013 he set up the Stiliyan Petrov Foundation in order to help other people diagnosed with acute leukaemia and their families.
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