Petrov posts message on Twitter after return to Aston Villa training confirmed

Former Aston Villa player Stiliyan Petrov (C) on a lap of honour at the end of the match

The Villans favourite is returning to his former club.

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston VillaIt's more than four years since Petrov's last competitive appearances

Stiliyan Petrov has thanked fans for their 'continued support' after his return to Aston Villa training was confirmed on Thursday.

It's four years since Petrov was diagnosed with an acute form of leukaemia, which prompted his retirement from the game in 2013.

Former Aston Villa player Stiliyan Petrov (C) on a lap of honour at the end of the matchPetrov during his illness

But having fought back to fitness, the Bulgarian has been invited to join in his former club's pre-season campaign.

And following the Villans' earlier announcement, Petrov took to Twitter to post a message of his own.

"Im so happy I've been given the opportunity to join @AVFCOfficial 1st team for pre-season," the 36-year-old wrote in the first of a series of tweets. "I've put a lot of hard work to come to this stage.

"And the last hurdle will be even tougher but Im physically and mentally prepared to jump over it!

"Thanks a lot for all your continuous support and I hope you all get behind the team whatever my outcome is! They need you more than ever."

Villa are much-changed since Petrov last's appearance in claret and blue, having finished 15th or lower in each of their four full seasons without him - the last of which saw them fall into the second tier for the first time in 29 years.

Aston Villa's Aly Cissokho (L) looks dejected at the end of the match after being relegated from the Premier LeagueVilla players after their relegated was confirmed

However, with a new billionaire owner (Tony Xia) and Champions League-winning boss (Roberto Di Matteo) in place - not to mention a potential return for Petrov - the Villa fans at last have something to look forward to.

The Villans' Championship campaign begins at last season's beaten play-off finalists Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday, 7 August,.

New manager Roberto Di Matteo and new owner Dr Tony Xia during the press conferenceDi Matteo (L) and Xia have brought renewed hope to Villa

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