Raith Rovers: Veteran centre back Berra to quit playing

Raith Rovers confirmed last night that veteran defender Christophe Berra is to retire from playing football, effective forthwith.

By Ralph Mellon
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 1:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 1:50 pm
Christophe Berra in action for Raith Rovers last season against Inverness Caledonian Thistle (picture by Trevor Martin)
Christophe Berra in action for Raith Rovers last season against Inverness Caledonian Thistle (picture by Trevor Martin)

After a high-profile career on both sides of the border and 20 years in the professional game, Berra, 37, said he was stepping aside for the good of the Stark’s Park side, having carefully considered his decision and discussed it with his family and new Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray.

In a statement on the club website, Berra said: “This was far from an easy decision but, after thinking long and hard, together with the high standards I set myself on a daily basis, I have decided the time has come to hang up my boots.

"For the benefit of the team, I felt it was the right time to step aside and allow the club to bring in some new players to drive the team forward.

"I have ambitions to return to football in the months ahead but, for the time being, I will enjoy some quality time with my family.

"Last but not least, a huge thanks to the players, the manager, the staff and the club. I have enjoyed every minute being in your company, on and off the pitch, and I wish you all the very best going forward.

"Finally, I would like to give a special thanks to all the Rovers fans who welcomed me to their club. It has been an honour and privilege. Thank you.”

Manager Murray praised the player, adding: “I’d like to thank Christophe as, during the short time we worked together, he has been a tremendous help to myself, the players and all the staff.

We respect and appreciate that Christophe feels it’s time to retire after a great career.

"I’d personally, like to thank him for his honesty and his professionalism while working with him. I wish him well for the future, whatever path he chooses to go down, and he knows we will welcome him back at Raith Rovers any time. He has earned a well-deserved break.”

Berra’s professional career saw him come through the youth system at his boyhood team, Hearts, before making his debut in November 2003.

Six years at Tynecastle followed, during which he played in Champions League qualifiers, UEFA Cup matches and over 120 games in the Premier League, mostly as captain of Hearts.

With over 40 Scotland Caps and four goals for his country, Berra was the subject of several bids by English Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, whom he eventually signed for in January 2009.

During his four years at Molineux, he played for three seasons in the English Premiership, making over 150 appearances for Wolves.

Berra had a further four years at Ipswich Town, then a move saw him return to Hearts, enjoying a four-year stint at Tynecastle.

Finally, he signed a pre-contract with Raith Rovers before the start of the 2021-22 season and made a total of 42 appearances for the Lang Toun club.

Raith Rovrs extended thanks to Berra “for his hard work, dedication, and professionalism, as he helped us secure a win on many an occasion.”

The club added: “We know the decision to retire was not easy for him but we wish him and his family all the very best on this exciting new chapter in his journey. Stark’s Park door will always be open to him.”