Contract row forces Hearts to terminate Pinilla deal

HEARTS have ran out of patience with Mauricio Pinilla after terminating the wayward Chilean internationalist's three-year contract. The Tynecastle club invoked a clause in the 24 year-old's deal to release him after two-injury ravaged years in Gorgie.

Pinilla recently worked on his fitness in Lithuania where he was a guest of Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov but the club have now severed all ties with the marksman following a contractual dispute.

In an interview with Chilean newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias the striker claimed the club changed the goalposts on an agreed contract and lamented the fact he had been assigned what he called a "diet policeman".

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Pinilla said: "I signed for three years but Hearts had the option to end the contract up until 30 June. They told me recently they wanted to change something in my contract and I wouldn't accept the changes.

"I had spoken with Hearts' directors, and the owner wanted to double my salary. But then the official concerned with players' contracts turned up at our training camp in Lithuania. I read my documents and saw that important changes had been made.

"They were now offering me just 25 per cent of what we agreed, and they would see about the rest during the season.

"Had they put this to me from the outset then fair enough, but instead they did it at the eleventh hour. I was not prepared to play for them under such conditions.

"They also wanted me to live with a guy a bit like a personal trainer. He would be a diet policeman, who inspected what I had to eat from breakfast all the way through to dinner. I was supposed to have this guy at my side every day. You can't live like this."

He added: "I was very happy in Edinburgh because the Hearts supporters always told me they wanted me to play, that I was a good player. They seemed to like me but it's difficult when you only play eight games in two years.

"I spent a lot of time injured at Hearts and I was preparing to play the games next season. I feel sorry that I did not play more. I would have liked to show the people my ability but I can't now."

Pinilla initially joined Hearts on loan from Sporting Lisbon in summer 2006 before Hearts bought out the Portuguese outfit's half stake in his playing rights. The South American was then sent on loan to Universidad de Chile back in his homeland in February 2007.

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When he signed his three-year deal in May, it's thought Hearts became outright owners of Pinilla by buying out Inter Milan's stake in the player.

During his two-year stint at Hearts, the player made just eight first team appearances and scored two goals.

Pinilla was also treated for depression at a private psychiatric clinic in Spain during his spell in the capital, with Romanov reportedly footing the bill.

However, the striker believes he won't encounter any problems finding a new club.

He said: "My fitness is okay. I was in Lithuania to do some special work but not with the football. I'm ready for the start of the season and I'm looking for a new club. I have three or four options in countries like Portugal and Italy so I am waiting for confirmation. I will meet my agent in Italy to discuss it."

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