Villa Skipper diagnosed with Leukaemia

Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov starts treatment on Monday 2nd April for acute leukaemia. He was diagnosed following tests when he developed a fever after the clubs match with Arsenal. Manager Alex McLeish says the fighting spirit of the midfielder will help him conquer his illness.

Messages of support for the former Celtic player, known as 'Stan', have flooded in since the news was confirmed in a Villa statement.
McLeish said: ``I spoke to him and he was typical Stan, defiant, but I think obviously he's concerned about how it has affected his loved ones. It's that old perspective cliche, but it's so true, and everybody here at Villa is behind Stan and a lot of the guys, everybody, will be shocked by the news. But he's a captain, he's a leader, he's a defiant guy and he's fought many battles on the pitch and I'm sure this is another one he'll win. We certainly think it's in the early stages and Stan will get the best medical attention possible.''

Petrov's representatives confirmed the player was booked into a London hospital and will begin his treatment programme on the 2nd of April.

Villa chairman Randy Lerner said: ``We are completely focused on Stiliyan and his family. Stiliyan is someone who is cherished by many people throughout football. Every ounce of love and support that we have, he will get from the club to help bring this to a positive conclusion.''

Villa confirmed the news of Petrov's condition in a statement which continued: ``We expect to learn more about Stiliyan's situation in due course and we have moved quickly to support him and his family. During this time we ask that Stiliyan's privacy is placed ahead of all inquiries and trust that we will share information as we receive it. Stiliyan is cherished by many and he will get from Villa every ounce of love and support that we have to help bring this to a positive conclusion.''