Stiliyan Petrov calls time on comeback bid

Former Celtic star Stiliyan Petrov. Picture: John Devlin
Former Celtic star Stiliyan Petrov. Picture: John Devlin
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Former Celtic player Stiliyan Petrov has abandoned his comeback bid.

The 37-year-old Bulgarian has admitted defeat in his attempt to return to playing at Aston Villa.

Petrov was involved in the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria and played in a couple of games, four years after being forced into retirement following the diagnosis of leukaemia.

But his efforts have been in vain, the former international captain conceding that it had not gone to plan. He insisted he wouldn’t make another attempt and made his decision after Villa had declined to offer him a new contract. Petrov said: “There will be no comebacks. My return to professional football has failed, but I will explain the reasons at a later stage.

“I am glad I was able to come back and do a pre-season, but sometimes things do not work out the way we want.”

The former Celtic favourite, who played more than 200 times for the club after arriving from CSKA Sofia in 1999, has recovered from the illness, but revealed he wanted to take his time over his next move.

He added: “Could I become a manager in Bulgaria? Of course, but not soon. I do not want to rush. I have a lot of proposals. Now I want to devote time to my family.”

Petrov was a key player in Martin O’Neill’s side and the current Republic of Ireland manager paid £6 million to lure him from Glasgow 
during his spell as Villa boss in 2006.