One-time Celtic favourite Stiliyan Petrov will become the first Bulgarian outfield player to pick up 100 caps for his country, when the Eastern Europeans take on Switzerland in their Euro 2012 clash with Switzerland.
The industrious midfielder will now be just two caps behind goalkeeper Borislav Mihaylov’s all time record of 102 caps for Bulgaria, and will most certainly exceed his total in the coming months.
Petrov is said to be delighted with the achievement, while his old CSKA Sofia manager, Georgi Vasilev too expressed his happiness.
He said: “It was easy to see 14 years ago he had the skills to become an established international. “
“He has shown great character and stamina and well deserves this 100th cap.”
Vasilev signed Petrov from his local side, PFC Montana, at the age of 18 for a paltry €30,000. John Barnes then made arguably his best decision during his short tenure at Celtic, signing the Bulgarian for £2 million in 1999.
Petrov went on to play 228 times for Celtic, and was as the heart of Martin O’Neill’s successful years at Parkhead.
In 2006, Aston Villa signed Petrov £6.5 million, rising to £8 million depending on appearances. The Bulgarian has since been at the heart of the Villa team, and even picked up the club’s Player of the Year award in the 2008/2009 season, and being handed the captain’s armband too.
Upon the retirement of Dimitar Berbatov from international football in January 2010, Petrov was named captain of his national side, and also won Bulgaria’s Player of the Year award.