Stiliyan Petrov rules out return to football after failing to earn Aston Villa deal

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

The 37-year-old Bulgarian tried to make a comeback with his former club this summer after successfully beating cancer.

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

Speaking in an interview with Kanal 3 in his native Bulgaria, former Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov has ruled out a return to professional football after failing to earn a contract with his old club.

Petrov, 37, first joined Villa from Celtic in August 2006 and went on to make 218 total appearances for the claret and blues until he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia after developing a fever during a 3-0 loss at Arsenal in March 2012.

He was ultimately forced to hang up his boots in May 2013 after going into remission nine months earlier, but the ex-Bulgaria midfielder then announced back in April that he had returned to training with the club’s Under-21s with a view to making a shock comeback.

Former Aston Villa player Stiliyan Petrov

New boss Roberto Di Matteo later invited the former fan favourite to join the team’s pre-season training camp in Austria, where he featured in two friendlies, but his bid to win a short-term deal for the coming season fell short in the end despite earning praise for his fitness levels and commitment.

“There will be no comebacks,” Petrov told Kanal 3. “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.”

Ashley Young (L) celebrates with Stiliyan Petrov after scoring Aston Villa's first goal

Petrov was offered a backroom role at Villa this summer, however, and has helped coach the club’s development squad on several occasions since his retirement, including for a brief period last season.

Nevertheless, the former Bulgaria skipper, who won 105 international caps between 1998 and 2012, has not quite decided whether he wants to pursue a management career.

“Could I become a manager in Bulgaria? Of course, but not soon. I do not want to rush,” he added to Kanal 3.

"I have a lot of proposals... Now I want to devote my time to my family, as when others rested, I was training with Aston Villa and now want to spend time with them.”

Stiliyan Petrov celebrates after scoring the second goal for Aston Villa

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