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Cuellar: Heart screening revealed Villa Petrov's acute leukaemia

Aston Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov's acute leukaemia was discovered after the squad underwent medical tests in the wake of Fabrice Muamba's collapse, revealed team-mate Carlos Cuellar. And it emerged last week that Petrov had been diagnosed with leukaemia after developing a fever following the defeat by Arsenal.

"Last Tuesday, after what happened to Muamba, experts came to our training ground to do tests on us and examine our hearts," Villa defender Cuellar said in The Sun.

"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. 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."

In an interview with Spanish radio station COPE, Cuellar 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."

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Dave Williams

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