Petrov attends Villa game
Aston Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov attended Saturday's home Barclays Premier League clash with Chelsea - the day after being diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
The Bulgarian international will start treatment for the illness in a London hospital on Monday.
"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," Petrov said in a statement.
"This is a difficult time for my family and myself and I ask people to respect my privacy.
"With the help and love of my family, my team-mates, all of my friends in football, Aston Villa and all of the fans, I am sure I will beat this illness and I am determined to do this."
Villa players wore 'support Stan' messages on their training kit whilst warming up for the game.
A message of support was to be relayed over the stadium public address system five minutes before kick off.
Villa fans were also planning to show their support with an ovation after 19 minutes of the game in honour of Petrov who wears the number 19 shirt.
Villa officials are planning to talk to Petrov to find out if reports in the Bulgaria media claiming he was to retire from football are accurate.