Former Villa captain Petrov hopes to return to pitch after battling leukemia

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Stiliyan Petrov last played a competitive match in 2012, but the former Aston Villa captain is trying to make a comeback.

The Bulgarian midfielder was forced into retirement in 2013 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Now 36-years-old, the disease is in remission and Petrov is back on the pitch.

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After making more than 200 appearances over six seasons with Aston Villa, Petrov has been training with the club’s U-21 side and said a return to the Villa first team is his end goal.

I have decided to start trying to play football at a higher level again.

I am very excited. People will be asking a lot of questions, and will have a lot of doubts.

My fitness is getting close to when I retired, so let’s see where we go. Aston Villa remains my priority.

Petrov was a key member of a Villa side that finished sixth in the Premier League for three consecutive campaigns from 2007-10. However, the club has seen a massive drop since that time, headed to the Championship next season for the first time in history.

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At 36 and out of the game for a few years, it would be hard to imagine Petrov making a full comeback to first-team football at a top level. Despite that, seeing him in full-health and back on the pitch is a great sight for all.