After signing a new deal to 2021, Christophe Berra reveals his determination to lift a trophy with Hearts before hanging up his boots at Tynecastle

0
1719

BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

CHRISTOPHE BERRA is determined to realise his dream of lifting silverware with his beloved Hearts before ending his career at Tynecastle.

The Jambos captain has signed a one-year extension to his contract that will see him remain at the club until the summer of 2021.

Berra, 33, has been a towering influence on and off the pitch since returning to his boyhood club in 2017 following spells with Wolves and Ipswich, and recently made his 300th appearance over two spells in Gorgie.

(Pic: Hearts TV)

The experienced centre-half admits the talks regarding a new deal were among the easiest he has ever embarked on and, having put pen to paper, is steeled to guide the capital club back to Europe and challenge for a maiden major trophy since 2012.

“I’ve made it known that I want to stay at Hearts and finish my career here and hopefully that will be the case,” said Berra. “I’ve enjoyed every minute that I’ve been here and I’m looking forward to the next two-and-a-half seasons.

“Basically the gaffer [Craig Levein] and Ann Budge [owner] mentioned it to me and there wasn’t even any negotiation! I’m happy to stay here, I come from this city, I started my career here and always wanted to finish it here.

“There have been ups and downs and, as ever, the fans expect a lot. They demand a lot, which is good. It keeps the players on their toes and it’s a great place to play.

“We are trying to build something here over the next two or three seasons. The manager is trying to do that and hopefully we can keep our key players for that time and get a good run in the league and cups.

“With a consistent squad – I know there has been a lot of chopping and changing in recent seasons – we can work our way up the league, get into Europe and hopefully get a bit of silverware. There would not be a better feeling than lifting a cup with Hearts at Hampden.”

While Berra is ready to hang up his boots at Hearts, he has not ruled out playing beyond 2021.

The 41-times capped defender celebrates his 34th birthday tomorrow and will be 36 by the time his new deal expires but, after battling back from a recent hamstring tear admirably, he is in no rush to call it quits.

“Touch wood, I’ve been injury free throughout my career, aside from that recent bad one, which I’ve come back stronger from,” continued Berra.

“I’ll continue to take every game and season as it comes towards the end of my contract.”

With his long-term future now set in stone, Berra’s attention has immediately turned to the sizable challenge of derailing the Kilmarnock juggernaut at Rugby Park on Friday night.

Flying

With four wins and the same amount of clean sheets from their last five outings, Hearts will approach the trip to Ayrshire with no fear – but Berra is loathe to underestimate the threat of a Killie side unbeaten in seven outings.

“We’re looking forward to Kilmarnock on Friday night, which is going to be very difficult,” Berra told Hearts TV. “A lot of teams go there and struggle and they are joint-second in the league on merit. They are well-organised, have good players and are flying high.

“It is a tough task for us but we know we’ve won there in the past and we want to do it again.

“We’ve got four wins out of five, have kept four clean sheets as well, so that’s positive. We were a bit disappointed to get beat by Dundee – with those three points we would have been a lot closer to the top end of the table.”

NO COMMENTS