Aston Villa fans react on Twitter to Stiliyan Petrov's comeback plans

The former Villa captain is hoping to re-join his old club after beating leukaemia.

Over four years after playing his last game for Aston Villa, Stiliyan Petrov is eyeing a shock comeback with his former club.

The Bulgarian, 36, made 218 appearances for the claret and blues between 2006 and 2012 until he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia after developing a fever during a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal.

His battle with the illness eventually forced him to hang up his boots in May 2013, nine months after it was announced he was in remission, but he is now back in training with Villa’s Under-21s and wants to re-join the club to help in their bid for promotion back to the Premier League next season.

I'm looking forward to a return to football again," Petrov told Sky Sports. "I've told Aston Villa that I'm ready to start a pre-season with them. Obviously they will always have the first look.

"I've been working close to the idea for a year-and-a-half and I've managed to come a long way. I started gradually with slow runs then I moved to five-a-side and then 11-a-side and half a pitch, then Sunday league.

"I've been given permission to train with Villa U21s for the last four months. We've done a couple of tests in the last two weeks and my fitness is getting close to when I retired. I'm really excited and I understand the odds will be against me."

Petrov first joined Villa from Celtic in August 2006 for £6.5 million, reuniting with former manager Martin O’Neill after winning four Scottish league titles under the Northern Irishman at Parkhead.

After overcoming a slow start, the industrious midfielder went on to establish himself as a firm favourite for his committed performances and was handed the captain’s armband in the summer of 2009 following Martin Laursen’s retirement.

As well as winning the club’s Player of the Year award for 2008-09, he also helped O’Neill’s side achieve three straight sixth-place Premier League finishes between 2008 and 2010 and led the team to both the League Cup final and an FA Cup semi-final appearance in 2010.

Needless to say, he was the type of player that the club are currently desperately lacking, and there is little doubt that supporters would welcome him back with open arms given the reaction on Twitter to his comeback announcement.

Here is how just some of them greeted the news…

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