Aston Villa captain Stilian Petrov has told Bulgarian media he has retired from football to focus on his battle with cancer.
Villa announced on Friday that the Bulgarian international has been diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
But Petrov has vowed to fight for his life, telling Tema Sport: “I am now beginning to fight for my life and I will fight. Football is over, this is the end.”
Petrov said he had felt a strange headache during the first half of Aston Villa’s defeat against Arsenal last weekend. What at first seemed to be a fever was later diagnosed as acute leukaemia.
“I lost my energy early in the second half and it was very unusual for me,” Petrov said.
“But this is life, you see we drank a coffee in London a week ago and now we’re talking about things like this.”
The Bulgarian has received good wishes from all parts of the world and said the support will help him in his battle against the illness.
“I’ll fight, it’s clear and I also would like to thank everyone for the support from all around the world.
“But, of course, wishes from Bulgaria encourage me most.
“They give me strength to believe that one day I will recover.”