Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish revealed Stiliyan Petrov "couldn't wait to get started" after beginning treatment for acute leukaemia at a London hospital on Monday.
Petrov was accompanied by his wife, Paulina, and McLeish as part of a show of support from Villa after the Bulgarian's diagnosis was revealed last Friday. McLeish described Petrov - nicknamed Stan - as being in "high spirits" and determined to fight the illness "head on" following an outpouring of support from the football community.
"The chairman Randy Lerner, the chief executive Paul Faulkner, myself went to see Stiliyan with the support of his wife on this the very first day of his road to recovery," McLeish said. "He's determined to meet it head on - we expect that from Stan."
He added: "He was talking really positively and actually couldn't wait to get started to try and clear up this illness that he has.
"Stan has an amazing spirit, he's absolutely fantastic. God knows what the lad is thinking.
"But he's the captain of Aston Villa, he's a pure leader and he wants to lead himself through this particular tough time."
McLeish revealed that despite facing a "battle" to return to health the 32-year-old was remaining upbeat, saying he was already missing not being able to train with his team-mates.
"He will stand up to that battle," he told Sky Sports News.
"He was talking about wishing he was coming back to training because he feels as if he could train.
"That's the kind of spirits that he's in. Everybody's here to support him."