Hearts captain Christophe Berra "hurt and angry" after being told he is free to leave Tynecastle
Skipper training with reserve squad at Riccarton
Hearts have told captain Christophe Berra he is free to leave Tynecastle. He is now training with the reserve squad - leaving him feeling "hurt and angry".
A meeting between the 34-year-old defender and manager Daniel Stendel took place when the Hearts squad returned from their winter break.
Berra was informed by the manager that he is free to find a new club. The Scotland internationalist was dropped from the starting line-up for Hearts' last match, a 1-1 draw with Aberdeen prior to the winter shutdown.
His contract runs until summer 2021 and senior Tynecastle officials are keen to do the right thing by their captain, who has been an excellent ambassador and played more than 200 times in two spells at the club.
They will help him look for another club, either on loan or permanently, and want to ensure any exit is as amicable as possible.
However, Berra is unhappy with how the situation has been handled. "It came out the blue," he told BBC Scotland. "I just got married on Friday and then on Sunday I'm getting told I'm not involved any more.
"It did hurt, I'm not going to lie. I've done a lot for this club. I know it's football, I know how it works, but I don't think anyone represents the club better than me. It's one man's opinion. There are other ways to go about it but I'm not going to throw the toys out the pram."
Stendel wants to sign a new left-sided centre-back this month and has identified Stoke City's Liam Lindsay as a priority target. Other candidates are also on the German's list to fill the position if a move for Lindsay proves difficult.
Hearts have released the Republic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan as Stendel looks to free up wages within his squad. Berra's departure, should it materialise in time, would make more cash available.