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‘I WOULD HAVE PLAYED FOR FREE,’ PETROV

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STAN PETROV has revealed he would have played for Aston Villa for free if they had offered him a chance to return to football.

The Celtic legend, 37, trained with the first team in the summer as he attempted to resurrect his career following a successful battle against leukaemia.

Petrov claimed new Villa boss Roberto Di Matteo let him know he was making good progress before then calling him into his office days later to be told there would be no contract.

The Bulgarian was offered a job as a youth team coach, but turned it down. He said the-then Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan “literally went ballistic” after finding out.

Petrov said: “I didn’t even want to get paid. I just wanted to finish as a footballer.

“I was told very early. I was free. I sat with Roberto Di Matteo and thanked him for giving me the opportunity.

“We shook hands and I wished him good luck for the season.”

American international Guzan, once linked with Celtic, left shortly afterwards for Middlesbrough.

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