FORMER Celtic star and Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov believes he has conquered "the hardest bit" in his battle to overcome acute leukemia.
The Bulgarian international has been undergoing treatment for three months and yesterday celebrated his 33rd birthday by attending Villa's first day of pre-season training under new manager Paul Lambert.
Petrov said he has taken inspiration from messages of support from people who have conquered the illness.
He added: "I always believed that you need to be patient and you need to believe in things – and I believe that I will get better.
"The doctors, nurses and everybody in the hospital have been great to me. If you have people that you trust it makes it easier."