best tracker I struggled to pay my phone bill when I came for my Celtic medical – but now I’m classed as one of the greats – Techss

I struggled to pay my phone bill when I came for my Celtic medical – but now I’m classed as one of the greats

Celtic have a knack of chasing young talent across the globe and bringing them to Parkhead.

But Stiliyan Petrov admits that it wasn’t just the Scottish Premiership champions that were chasing him back in 1999.

PA:Empics Sport

Stiliyan Petrov is considered one of Celtic’s best ever midfielders[/caption]

That’s because his club prior to Celtic, CSKA Sofia, were chasing him for an overdue PHONE BILL.

The Hoops snapped up the Bulgarian international for £2.8million during the ’99 summer transfer window.

He went on to feature 28 times that season at just 20 years old while also playing in an unfamiliar position on the park when he was deployed at right back.

Nicknamed ‘Stan’, Petrov won the League Cup in his first season before excelling under the newly appointed Martin O’Neill across the following five seasons.

He accumulated 10 pieces of silverware in seven trophy laden years with Celtic and helped his side reach the 2003 UEFA Cup Final.

But coming through as a professional was a whirlwind for him as he revealed he was completing his military service while playing football and was also unable to pay his phone bill.

Speaking on Open Goal, he said: “I was playing for CSKA (Sofia) but six months before that I was doing my national service for a year and a half.

“Doing a national service taught me a lot of lessons – how to respect, how to be loyal and what friendship means.

“It does teach you that. Then I came out of the national service and I had done a pre season with Sofia and I got picked up for the national team again.

“I played against England and that’s when there were a lot of rumours about who got me – Jozef Venglos, John Barnes or Kenny Dalglish, who knows!

“But I knew they had an interest and I knew at that time Sofia were chasing me because I couldn’t pay my phone bill.

“I don’t think for the last two months we’d been paid so I couldn’t pay my phone bill.

“So they were chasing me through the other boys, it was a nightmare!”

And it wasn’t long before Petrov was on a flight to Parkhead to complete a medical ahead of the big move.

But more controversy followed him there when he was told he’d need to pack for 24 hours only to be in Glasgow for a full week with only one outfit.

He added: “In the space of the next three days I was back to Sofia then travelling to Glasgow.

“I’ve only took a pair of trousers and a t-shirt because they said to me ’24 hours – in, medical and out’ but we ended up staying for a week here.

“So every two days I had to wash my shirt and my trousers just to make sure I could last for a week!

“I remember my agent kept looking at me and saying ‘Should we buy you something?’ and I’m saying ‘No, no they said we’ll do it tomorrow.’

“Then the next day they said tomorrow and then tomorrow again for a full week!”

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