The captain of Bulgaria and Aston Villa Stiliyan Petrov, who has been diagnosed with Acute Leukaemia, has issued a statement of gratitude for the overwhelming support he got from fans.

“I would like to thank all of the people who have left messages of support – the response has been overwhelming and I appreciate it very much,” Stiliyan Petrov said Saturday afternoon in a special statement published on the Aston Villa club website.

“This is a difficult time for my family and myself and I ask people to respect our privacy….