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Sep 7, 2011

Petrov: I won't quit Bulgaria

Bulgaria captain Stiliyan Petrov has vowed to continue playing for Bulgaria despite their continued struggle to qualify for a major international finals, with Euro 2012 the latest tournament to pass him by.

• England and what might have been for Villa

Petrov, 32, was on the losing side for the fifth time in the current qualifying campaign against Switzerland on Tuesday, with Bulgaria now facing a battle with Wales to avoid finishing bottom of Group G.

Bulgaria legend Yordan Lechkov urged both Petrov and Bolton winger Martin Petrov to hang up their international boots ahead of the 3-1 defeat to Switzerland, saying: "They have nothing more to give. They're successful players, they're millionaires but it is time for them to retire with dignity."

But despite retiring once previously, stepping out of the national team for four months during the reign of Hristo Stoichkov, Aston Villa skipper Petrov insists he has no plans to do so again.

And he has also dismissed conspiracy theories that Bulgarian president Boris Mikhailov has tried to downgrade some of his caps so he can remain as his country's record appearance holder. Mikhailov won 102 caps for Bulgaria and Petrov clocked up number 104 against Switzerland.

"People were saying that when I broke the appearance record I would retire - but I won't do it. I'll keep going as long as I can," Petrov said.

"It's really hard to see people writing you off and saying when I break the record I will retire because I won't have any more drive to play for my country.

"That's a lot of nonsense. I'll keep playing for my country the way I played in my first game right through to my last game.''

"A lot of people have been saying that [Mikhailov has tried to downgrade some of his caps] but I don't believe it. "Borislav is a nice guy. It's stupid that people write these things. What he achieved as a player and a person is great.''

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