"Football is over, this is the end."

BOLTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Stiliyan Petrov of Aston Villa celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa at Reebok Stadium on December 10, 2011 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Petrov's agent has denied that Petrov has any plans to retire.

That's a quote being attributed to Stiliyan Petrov from Saturday's edition of Bulgarian daily Tema Sport.* Petrov's leukemia diagnosis has sent a shock through Aston Villa, and if the quote is accurate it appears to be a pretty definitive statement on how the captain sees the state of his future in the game. It's still very early in the process and a great deal can still change, but for Petrov to be so definitive shows how severe this situation is.

Obviously, Stan Petrov's life is far more important than football at the moment. But to this point it's a life that has been in large part defined by football, and if the captain's career is in fact over it's yet another reminder (as though one were needed) of how unrepentantly evil a disease cancer an be. I hope this isn't true. I hope Petrov's recovery goes well and at some point in the future he takes the field again. But retirement is a very real possibility, and it's got to be a shock how sudden that's become the case.

*This is not the traslation I get when running the piece through Google Translate, but I've seen this same phrasing reported a few other places that can likely afford slightly better methods, so I think it's fair to say that at the very least that's the spirit of what's being said.

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