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PETROV IN FIRST TEAM TRAINING

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CELTIC legend Stan Petrov will train with Aston Villa’s first team during pre-season.
The 36-year-old midfielder was forced to retire from the game following being diagnosed with acute leukaemia four years ago after undergoing three spells of chemotherapy.

But he remained close to the Midlands club during his recovery and trained with the Under-21 side at the end of last season.

He stated in April he was hoping to return to professional football.

Petrov said: “I’ve told Aston Villa that I’m ready to start a pre-season with them. Obviously, they will always have the first look.

“I’ve been working close to the idea for a year-and-a-half and I’ve managed to come a long way. I started gradually with slow runs then I moved to five-a-side and then 11-a-side and half a pitch, then Sunday League.”

And a statement from Villa read: “Aston Villa is pleased to confirm Stiliyan Petrov will take part in pre-season training at first-team level.

“Manager Roberto Di Matteo has revealed the former club captain will travel with the group to Austria as he joins the squad at their training camp.”

Petrov, who joined Villa in 2006 from the Hoops, made 219 appearances for the club, scoring 12 times.

The Parkhead side signed him from CSKA Sofia for £2,8million in 1999 and he made 228 league appearances, scoring 55 goals, before being lured to Villa by Martin O’Neill.
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