Stilian Petrov, the fabulous midefielder of Bulgarian NT and Celtic is said to leave the club after his cotract runs out! He turned down a new offer ...
Sunday Mail has publis an exculsive intevew and a big Pic on his back page!!!
Here it is:
I HAVE TO QUIT CELTIC Oct 11 2002
Fed-up Petrov is off after snubbing club's offer
Mark Guidi Exclusive
STILIAN PETROV will walk out of Celtic on a Bosman when his contract expires.
The Bulgarian midfielder has rejected a new five-year deal worth about Ł3.75million.
Despite a year of negotiations the contract offered would still have left him on less than half the amount earned by the top Hoops stars.
Martin O'Neill and the board have tried desperately in the past 48 hours to change Petrov's mind - but he is not going back on his decision.
Speaking exclusively to MailSport Stilian said: "I have had sleepless nights thinking this over. I haven't been at peace with myself for three years over my financial situation and it had to stop.
"What I asked for was realistic given my contribution to the team in the last three seasons. I am not being greedy.
"It is time to stand up for myself and I am not going back on this decision no matter what Celtic do."
Petrov's stance means the Parkhead side could lose a player worth around Ł9m for nothing when he leaves under freedom of contract.
The club may try to punt him but Stilian - one of the lowest paid stars at the club
- is adamant he will be going nowhere before his contract expires.
Leaving would be a wrench but the time had come to make a stand - and he insisted he had the backing of his team- mates.
Petrov said: "I couldn't keep signing contracts that weren't what I wanted.
"I had to settle this once and for all. I wanted a new deal that would have kept me happy for three or four years or else sign nothing and see out my present contract. I have decided on the latter.
"It is a risk but it's something I must do. I have a wife and there's a baby on the way and I must do what is right for them.
"I'd be letting them down if I signed the contract I was offered. Any man in my position would have done the same.
"I respect the club's offer and if they think that is all I'm worth then it is up to them.
"They have a business to run but I hope they accept my decision.
"I wish they had made an acceptable offer because I love Celtic and living in Glasgow. My wife loves it here and we have made good friends.
"That's another couple of reasons that made my decision so hard. My team- mates have also told me they'll respect my position because they understand the situation.
"It was time for me to tell the truth. Hopefully this will clear everything up and bring an end to myself and the manager being asked questions about my situation.
"There is nothing more to ask anymore. The talks are over."
At present Petrov earns around a quarter of the likes of top earners same as Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton and Neil Lennon and his current deal expires in 2005. MailSport understands the new terms offered would only have lifted Petrov up beside the middle- earners at Parkhead.
Stan insisted his decision will not stop him giving 100 per cent to the team.
He vowed to continue to contribute to the success of the club the way he has done since arriving from CSKA Sofia for Ł2.2m in summer 1999.
Stilian said: "I will give my best for Celtic, I always have. I feel I have been underpaid for the past two or three years yet it hasn't stopped me giving my all and getting praise from the manager and supporters.
"I have returned from a broken leg and played with a broken hand a couple of weeks ago against Blackburn Rovers, so my commitment should never be in any doubt.
"I genuinely love this club and I wanted to stay. If thay had made me the right offer I would have been delighted and proud to have signed for a further five years."