Newcastle and Aston Villa legends Petrov and Gutierrez wish each other happy birthday

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

Ex Celtic star Stiliyan Petrov is training in order to return to football at Villa Park, while Jonas Gutierrez was recently released from a stint in La Liga.

Stiliyan Petrov celebrates after scoring the second goal for Aston VillaStiliyan Petrov celebrates after scoring the second goal for Aston Villa

Tuesday the fifth of July is the birthday of both Stiliyan Petrov and Jonas Gutierrez, the former a favourite at both Celtic and Aston Villa and the latter a Newcastle United hero.

The two midfielders are hugely popular players at their former clubs, and they wished each other a happy birthday on Twitter in a gesture that was all the more endearing given that both men are cancer survivors.

With cancer in its various forms still a deadly disease for many, it is heart warming to see two survivors recognising each other having beaten their illnesses, when perhaps at one point it would have been easy to imagine that they would struggle to reach many more birthdays.

Unsurprisingly, fans and former clubs were also quick to congratulate the duo.

Gutierrez was unceremoniously released by the Magpies after helping them stay in the Premier League on the last day of the 2014-15 season. The Argentine, who was treated for and recovered from testicular cancer that he first identified in 2013, played for a year back in Spain with Deportivo La Coruna last season, but is currently unattached.

Petrov's story saw him step away from football for an altogether longer period, after being diagnosed with acute leukaemia in 2012. As he battled the debilitating illness and the treatment, the former Celtic favourite retired from playing in 2013.

However, after beating the leukaemia, the Bulgarian returned to Villa Park in a coaching capacity last year, and to enormous credit, has rejoined the Villa first team this summer with the intention of returning to professional football in the coming campaign.

If the Villa team need any example of the value of determination and will power in the face of adversity, they need look no further than Petrov, who could well inspire them to a quick return to the Premier League.

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