Villa captain Petrov diagnosed with cancer after tests following Muamba collapse
09:02 GMT, 3 April 2012
Stiliyan Petrov discovered he had acute leukaemia after the Aston Villa squad underwent tests following Fabrice Muamba's collapse.
Bolton midfielder Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during a live TV match against Tottenham and the pictures sent shockwaves throughout the football community.
Discovery: Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukaemia last week
Villa defender Carlos Cuellar revealed: 'Last Tuesday, after what happened to Muamba, experts came to our training ground to do tests on us and examine our hearts.
'Two days later, we received the results and they communicated to Stan his symptoms of cancer.
'They wanted him to go to hospital for more tests to confirm the original diagnosis.
Check-up: Cuellar revealed how the Aston Villa squad underwent tests following Muamba's collapse
Smiles better: The first picture of Muamba emerged last week
'At the beginning they didn't even tell him the truth directly and he didn't want to scare us either, with a game against Chelsea so close on Saturday.
'They had told him “Yes it could be cancer but we need to do more tests”.
'So he didn't tell anyone but it's true his closest friends knew there was this possibility that it could be cancer.'
Muamba's heart stopped for 78 minutes when he collapsed on March 17 but he is making progress and last week was pictured for the first time, sitting up in his hospital bed smiling.
Collapse: Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest in Bolton's clash with Tottenham
And former Celtic midfielder Petrov, 32, has vowed to win his battle.
Cuellar, speaking to Spanish radio station COPE, added: 'The truth is we are very much affected by the very bad news about our captain.
'No one expected it, it caught us by surprise and left us in shock.
'Last week we were still affected by the situation of Fabrice Muamba – it affected us mentally and psychologically. 'So imagine if it is one of your intimate friends, a comrade with whom you've shared a dressing room for four years.
'My team-mates and I are deeply affected and very emotional but Stiliyan is the first to give us strength, trying to lift us so that we win as many games and points as we can. 'It's the only thing he asked of us.
'I speak to Stan every day and it is him that is giving us strength. 'He knows it's a tough situation but he's certain he will win – and his family is giving him strength.
'His first priority is to keep his wife and kids happy and recover as quickly as possible for them. 'He's a strong guy and he will definitely pull through.'