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Retiring Villa midfielder Petrov thanks Celtic for getting him on the right track

Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has spoken about how appreciative he is for the impact Celtic had on his life when he first arrived there as a 19-year old.

The 33-year old Bulgarian, who has called time on his career after a 14-month fight with leukaemia, arrived at Parkhead from CSKA Sofia in 1999 and achieved plenty of success with the Hoops to whom he is eternally grateful.

"When I was a young player at CSKA Sofia the good life was all I was interested in," he said.

"Celtic came in for me (in 1999) and I moved to Glasgow, to a new world. I didn't speak the language and I knew nobody. Fortunately, I met people who helped me to turn my life around.

"I came to know great teammates who showed me the proper way, the way I had to be if I was going to be a serious professional.

"At Celtic and at Aston Villa I was privileged to compete at a high level, playing the game I love.

"Then something crazy happened, something I thought was just a cold but turned out to be something life-changing.

"It is with a heavy heart I am announcing my retirement from the game."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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