Aston Villa have announced today that club captain, Stilliyan Petrov, has been diagnosed with acute leukemia. This has been discovered in tests after the Bulgarian international developed a fever in the aftermath of Villa's defeat at The Emirates Stadium last Saturday.
It is currently unclear of the severity of the illness. "We expect to learn more about the situation in due course," a club statement read earlier. "We are completely focused on Stiliyan and his family,” Chairman Randy Lerner announced. "Stiliyan is someone who is cherished by many people throughout football and every ounce of love and support that we have he will get from the club to help bring this to a positive conclusion.”
This news today, paired with the sudden collapse of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba a fortnight ago, puts the competitive nature of football into perspective. Villa host Chelsea tomorrow in the Premier League, and Club CEO, Paul Faulkner joined the salutes; "He's a much-loved teammate and leader of our club and I'm sure our fans will join us all at our game tomorrow in wishing him a full and speedy recovery."