Stiliyan Petrov says he is lucky to be alive following leukaemia battle

I’m lucky to be alive! Villa captain Petrov reveals he is on the road to recovery in leukaemia battle

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

12:47 GMT, 17 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 17 April 2013

Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following a battle with leukaemia after being diagnosed with the disease in March last year, saying he is lucky to be alive.

The Aston Villa club captain spoke about his experience with treatment for the disease and his appreciation of the fans who supported him at matches.

Defender Petrov, who has won 106 caps for his native Bulgaria, has not retired from the professional game and said he is lucky, due to the amount of people who die from the leukaemia.

Happy Birthday: Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following his battle with leukaemia

Happy Birthday: Stiliyan Petrov has revealed he is on the road to recovery following his battle with leukaemia

'When it happened I knew what kind of
disease it was but I didn’t know anything about what kind of treatment
it was,' he told AVFC.co.uk

'While the treatment was going on I
was surprised how long things were dragging on, it kept dragging and I
kept thinking “when is this going to finish” but with a lot of patience
and a lot of support from family and friends and everybody I managed to
pull through. I had my hard moments but I had good moments as well.

'I can say I’m lucky because some
people with this disease will die very quickly and I managed to keep
battling and still be here, still standing. It’s really good, that’s a
great thing.'

Salute: Petrov acknowledges the Villa Park crowd, showing their support by applauding in the 19th minute

Salute: Petrov acknowledges the Villa Park crowd, showing their support by applauding in the 19th minute

Villa

Villa fans hold an applause in the 19th
minute of every game – marking Petrov's squad number – and the
midfielder paid tribute to the supporters who have stood by their
skipper.

'Yeah, the 19th minute has been just
incredible. It’s just showing their appreciation and their support. I
don’t know how I can thank the fans because it’s been incredible.

'Sometimes I have a joke with some
friends when they text me saying, ‘You’ve still got that applause in the
19th minute, when are they going to stop!’ But it’s been incredible.

Touching: Young Villa fans hold up a message in support of their captain

Touching: Young Villa fans hold up a message in support of their captain

In action: Villa skipper Petrov playing last season before the diagnosis ruled him out of contention

In action: Villa skipper Petrov playing last season before the diagnosis ruled him out of contention

'I’ve got a great wife, a strong,
great wife and she’s been unbelievable, incredible in this journey. The
kids as well, my mom and dad, my brother, my wife’s mum, they’ve all
been so strong and close beside me. Other friends as well, I can’t start
naming names because there are so many, they’ve been so supportive
every single day.

'To have support every single day from
people who have their own problems and their own life but they keep
finding the time to send you a message or call you, it’s just
unbelievable.'

Thoughts: Tributes to Petrov were displayed by teams around the Premier League

Thoughts: Tributes to Petrov were displayed by teams around the Premier League

Petrov also spoke about the club's current form, and has backed his team-mates to stave off any relegation fears after seeing Saturday's 1-1 draw against Fulham.

'I was there at the game against Fulham and I’ve come to a lot of games this season when I’ve had the chance,' Petrov said.

Back on track: Petrov was watching Villa's 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Charles N'Zogbia's opener (above)

Back on track: Petrov was watching Villa's 1-1 draw against Fulham, with Charles N'Zogbia's opener (above)

'I needed to have clearance from the doctors to go around crowded areas, so I constantly needed to be feeling well in order for me to be around people.

'I was really impressed by the performance against Fulham because the boys kept going right until the last minute. There are still a lot of games to come, a lot of points to be picked up, so there’s nothing to worry about.'