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HEARTS DEFENDER STALLS ON NEW DEAL

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HEARTS defender Igor Rossi has shelved talks of extending his deal with the Tynecastle club until the end of the campaign.

The 27-year-old Brazilian’s contract expires in the summer and he admitted his long-term plans remain uncertain. He said: “The most important thing is the games. After that I will talk to Hearts with my agent about next season.

“Right now I don’t know my future. I like it here, I am happy, not just with the football. Hearts is a fantastic club, l like Edinburgh very much, it is a beautiful city, although it is very cold!

“That is very different for a person from Brazil! But I like it here. The people are very nice to me and my wife is very happy here, too.

“I would like to stay, but I don’t know at the moment. It will depend on all sorts of things.”

Rossi arrived in Scotland in the summer of 2015 from Portuguese outfit Maritimo unable to speak a word of English. He confessed his limited knowledge of Scottish football extended to the fact he had only heard of Celtic and Rangers.

Help was at hand with English lessons when his brother Rapha Branco – who plays for Swindon – became his language tutor. However, he revealed he still struggles to understand the Scottish accent.

Rossi added: “When the chance came to go to Hearts, I saw they had just won the Championship and gone up to the Premiership. Now it is good.

“I adapted quickly and that was important for me. It is difficult, but I like it, I like the contact. That gave me confidence to play my game.

“Some clubs just play long balls up to their strikers. I have had to adapt quickly to this, but I think the game here is good for me.

“The football here is more aggressive here, there’s more contact. It’s important for me because before I came here my brother told me about Scotland. He has been in England for four years now and he is a big help to me.”

Rossi faces St Johnstone at Tynecastle today with Robbie Neilson’s men mindful of the fact they have shipped five goals in their last two Premiership outings.

They conceded three in last week’s draw with Inverness Caley Thistle and Rossi added: “Of course, we were not happy, but sometimes that happens.

“What is more important is the next game, we need to have more concentration because we need to win. It’s not about not losing goals, the strikers and midfielders need to score. too.

“Before Inverness we had not scored a lot of goals – but we weren’t losing many, either. Then everything changed. We scored goals and we lost them, too.

“The problem is not with the strikers, the midfielders or defenders, it’s down to the whole team. We need to be more focused, not just on scoring goals or defending, but everything.”

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