Stiliyan Petrov has thanked the Aston Villa fans for their support as he continues down the "long road" to beat acute leukaemia.
The Villa supporters have taken to singing the Bulgarian's name in the 19th minute at each match - Petrov wore the number 19 shirt. And the former Celtic man, who attended a charity match between a Petrov XI and a Villa Legends XI at Halesowen at the weekend - admits their backing is helping him through an awful time.
He told the Birmingham Mail: "I'm on the edge of starting crying every single time (they sing and applaud). I really appreciate it. The fans have been very supportive from the start until now. It's already been eight months I've been on treatment."
He added: "I still get cards and messages and the turnout at the charity game was just unbelievable. But that's Villa fans for you. They love the club and the players."
Petrov tries to attend as many Villa matches as possible but admitted: "I've got another priority at the moment. I'm in remission and had quite a lot of chemotherapy.
"I'm in a consolidation phase at the moment. I've got a few more cycles to go. It's been a long road and it's been tough.
"From the start, I knew it was going to be hard. I didn't know it was going to be that hard. At the end of this road, you become an even better person."
Petrov added: "People say 'live every day as if it is your last' and I enjoy seeing my family, wife, kids, mum, dad, brother.
"I am battling hard. So far it's going well which is a positive thing."
- Sports & Recreation
- Stiliyan Petrov