Town Confirm Berra's Exit
Tuesday, 9th May 2017 09:19
Town have confirmed that central defender Christophe Berra is leaving the club.
The 32-year-old is out of contract and has long been keen to return to Scotland to be closer to his young daughter. The Blues have decided not to take an option to keep the ex-Hearts and Wolves man for a further season to allow him to return home.
Speaking in September, Berra said: “I’ve had a great time down here and as I’ve said before my daughter is four and at some point I’d want to go back home. That’s obvious – all my family and friends are there.”
Speaking to the club site after confirming his departure, he added: “I really enjoyed my four years at Ipswich and I've only got good things to say about the club. I wish everyone there all the success in the future.”
Manager Mick McCarthy initially signed Berra for £2.3 million from Hearts when Wolves manager in 2009, then brought him to Portman Road on a free transfer in the summer of 2013.
“It’s a situation we have been aware of for some time,” McCarthy told the club site.
“He is not doing anything devious, he just wants to spend more time with his daughter and anyone with family can respect that.
“Christophe has been fantastic for us. He has been one of the best defenders in the Championship over the last four years and I didn’t want to lose him but I understand fully why he wants to go back closer to home and we wish him well.”
Speaking on Friday, he said that if football was the only issue he would have kept the 35-times-capped Scotland international at Portman Road.
“Yes, no question he’d be here,” he said. “As a defender, he’s one of the best I’ve worked with. Consistent, plays games, he’s quick, he’s good in the air. He’s just been a pretty much ever-present whenever he’s been fit.
“There was as spell he didn’t play at Wolves but I don’t know how many games he’s played under me, quite a lot I think, 300 maybe.”
He added: “He’s a really top defender, he’s been a really good servant to both clubs, certainly while I’ve been there, and he’s a good guy as well. He’s just a really top professional. I can’t speak highly enough of him actually.”
Berra's former club Hearts have been repeatedly linked over the last year, while Rangers, who were keen to sign him before he joined the Blues, were reported to be interested in January.
The Edinburgh-born defender made 184 starts and one sub appearance for the Blues, scoring 14 goals. He was named the Supporters Player of the Year in 2013/14, his first season at the club.
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|Michael11 added 09:22 - May 9|
Been a brilliant servant to the club. He was player of the season by a mile in our playoff year. Best of luck to him back in Scotland. Hopefully sign a defender that suits playing in a back 3 better.
|iaintaylorx added 09:22 - May 9|
No doubt in anyone's mind he has been a top servant for the club over the last few seasons. Important goals and would throw his body on the line. Best of luck Christophe and thank you for all you did!
|iaintaylorx added 09:23 - May 9|
Can he also take Mick with him!?
|Bluebell added 09:23 - May 9|
Good luck Christophe. Who can blame you wanting to be with your daughter?
A great servant to the club and I am sorry to see him go. At least it gives Tommy Smith a chance to cement himself in that position.
|MickMillsTash added 09:23 - May 9|
Heart sinks - very hard to replace.
right place right time - time after time
Job was to stop goals and he is very good at this.
|PJH added 09:23 - May 9|
Good luck Christophe and thanks for all your efforts.
A very good defender for us.
|positivity added 09:25 - May 9|
all the best christophe, been very good for us over his time at the club.
i think this is a good time for him to be going, mick would only be tempted to play him every week, despite his clearly waning powers, thus blocking webster/smith or pushing chambers to right back. he never looked comfortable on the left of a 3, knudsen played that role far better.
hope we can get taylor on a pay as you play deal, plus a good youngster to challenge
|Cookycrew added 09:26 - May 9|
Fantastic defender & great servant to the club. We will seriously miss him next season. Best Wishes Christophe.
|prebsa added 09:27 - May 9|
Been a fantastic defender for us since arriving and has been the main man back there. Time for him to move on now and hopefully we will see a full season out of Webster!
|Garv added 09:29 - May 9|
Right time to go. Good luck to him, been a very good servant over four years.
|Surco72 added 09:34 - May 9|
Berra has been an excellent player for us but it is definitely the right time for him to leave for club and player . Good luck for the future , need new signings in quickly and not leave it till the dregs like we normally do
|Smithy added 09:40 - May 9|
All the very best Christophe, many thanks for your commitment, hard work and the memories you have left us. Please come back and say goodbye to the fans properly and enjoy all the extra time with your family and friends. Once a blue always a blue.
|howdonblue added 09:41 - May 9|
Good luck Christophe thanks for your great service!
Hopefully the Board an manager follow you out of the club
|drewcudders1963 added 09:45 - May 9|
He has been a great servant and an excellent player. Just started t look like he is past his best and I'd rather remember him as the excellent defender and leader of the team that he was. Can certainly understand his desire to be closer to his daughter. Good luck for the future Christophe.
|cornishblu added 09:46 - May 9|
Good luck Christophe ...trust a decent club in Scotland pick you up.
This harsh truth though this season slowed up and with arms all over the place was becoming a bit of a liability and of course as one of Micks undropables was keeping either smith or Webster out .
.....always does frustrate me that we let contracts run down and get no money back....if Mick has known this for a while why not sell in Jan..even if he got £50k for him...it would be money in the bank and probably 7 months wages off the books ...whilst allowing younger defenders to develop ....the extra £300k that would have saved us could have contributed to having Lawrence back until Jan of next year....bit sobering when you look at it like that
|coolcat added 09:49 - May 9|
Very sad to see him go. Right time as well, to be reunited with his family. Top pro. Top defender. He was immense in his last game for us as well. Will be missed on the pitch.
|BlueandTruesince82 added 09:49 - May 9|
Fair enough, he arrived on a free, he's been great for most of the 4 years here. Vital for 3. Wish him the very best
|dalinghooblue added 09:51 - May 9|
I wish him all the best. Has served us well.
|Blandford added 09:52 - May 9|
Thanks for your service to the club and good luck for the future.
On this (very rare) occasion I would also like to commend the club's management. Triggering the one year extention to his contract and then demanding a fee would have been an option. It would seem however that the personal needs of Christophe were placed above financial gain.
|Pencilpete added 09:53 - May 9|
Berra has been a great servant to the club, I'll go as far as to say probably one of the best defenders we've had in the last 20-25 years and popped up with his fair share of goals as well - in Fact Berra's 14 in 185 Games compared to our dynamic midfield duo of Skuse and Douglas who have managed a combined 4 in over 200 Games makes pretty good reading !!!!!! .
|Jimmy86 added 09:59 - May 9|
Good luck back in Scotland Christophe. As others have said he has been a decent player and a great servant to the club. In that play off season he was immense and was possibly the best centre back in the championship. In my eyes he never fully recovered from the red card in the play off's. Last season he was shaky at times and there were times this season, where he was perhaps the weak link and made mistakes in a few games running. Family is important and is perhaps the right time for him to move on. We have Chambo, Webster and Smith at CB. Taylor will prob get a new deal, injuries permitting
|Premierbluez added 10:09 - May 9|
Good luck Christophe and thanks for always giving 100% whilst wearing the Ipswich shirt.
|muccletonjoe added 10:12 - May 9|
No one can argue that he has been a cracking player . Dont know if we will sign a replacement or use the money it frees up elsewhere
|hoppy added 10:15 - May 9|
Goes with our thanks and best wishes. Can't be any complaints about this - he's done well for us, but you could see his heart was elsewhere so completely understand this.
Good luck in the future Christophe, and enjoy your family, as that is there long after the football is gone.
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