London - Former Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov has returned to the sport with an English amateur team following his cancer battle.
Petrov, 35, was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in March 2012 before Villa confirmed in August that year that he was in remission.
The ex-Celtic and Bulgaria midfielder announced his retirement from the professional game in May 2013, but he has recently made three appearances for Central Warwickshire League side Wychall Wanderers over-35s.
"It's a good laugh and they're competitive games," Petrov told the Birmingham Mail on Monday.
"It's just really nice to be out there playing a proper game.
"I've played 90 minutes and my fitness is improving but I need to be patient.
"I do get asked for autographs and pictures after matches. I meet a lot of Villa fans and it is great to chat to them."
Villa fans often saluted Petrov's fight to beat cancer by holding a minute's applause in the 19th minute of matches, with the time a reference to the shirt number he wore for the club.
And Petrov admits that support was welcome and encouraging in his successful recovery.
"The supporters have been great and I always had a positive attitude," Petrov added.
"Everything is fine, touch wood. There are only three months to go on tablets and I'm finished. I'm on steroids until January."