Stiliyan Petrov: Former captain plays first Aston Villa game in four years

Stiliyan Petrov
Stiliyan Petrov joined Villa from Celtic in 2006

Stiliyan Petrov has made his first Aston Villa appearance in more than four years after recovering from cancer.

The ex-Villa captain played the second half of Saturday's 8-0 friendly win over Austrian sixth-tier club GAK 1902.

Bulgarian Petrov, 37, was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in March 2012 and retired 14 months later.

The midfielder is attempting to make a professional comeback, and has been training with Villa in pre-season.

He was invited to train with the Championship club for a month on a non-contract basis, as he looks to build up fitness after his long absence from the professional game.

Jordan Ayew, Joe Bennett and Rudy Gestede scored two goals each in Villa's victory, adding to early goals from Micah Richards and Libor Kozak.

Stiliyan Petrov
Villa welcomed Petrov back into action via their Twitter account

Petrov was then-Villa boss Martin O'Neill's first signing when he arrived from Celtic for £6.5m in August 2006.

The midfielder first showed symptoms of leukaemia after developing a fever following a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in March 2012 and was diagnosed with the disease a few days later after making 218 appearances for Villa and more than 500 in British football.

He had four months of chemotherapy before it was announced in August of the same year that the disease was in remission, and has since set up a foundation to help leukaemia sufferers.

Petrov played Sunday league football for Wychall Wanderers during the 2014-15 season, helping them to win the Central Warwickshire Over-35s Premier Division One Cup.

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Stiliyan Petrov's Sunday League comeback

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