London, Apr 1(ANI): Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov has vowed to battle leukemia, saying he will take inspiration from Bolton Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba, who is recovering from a cardiac arrest, which he suffered during a recent FA Cup clash against Tottenham Hotspurs.
Petrov arrived at Villa Park with his wife and two children to support his colleagues during their match with Chelsea. Before the game, he went into the home dressing room to meet players who had been shocked by news of his suffering.
"With the help and love of my family, my team-mates, all of my friends in football, I am sure I will beat this illness and I am determined to do this," Petrov said in a statement released before the match.
"I saw the picture released by Fabrice Muamba, my fellow player, and it has inspired me, as has all of the support in the past 24 hours. For me, football will have to take a back seat for a while, but I'm here to support my teammates and I will continue to support them as I know they will support me," he added.
Petrov's statement was read to the crowd five minutes before kick-off, as he and his family took their seats in the stand, The Daily Mail reports.
The entire ground applauded and a chant of 'One Stiliyan Petrov' rang through the ranks.
Petrov will begin his treatment in a London hospital tomorrow. The severity of his illness will require prolonged attention. (ANI)
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