Outgoing Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has issued an online apology after a confusing situation that saw derogatory social media comments aimed at Jurgen Klopp. The 31-year-old was initially left considerably red-faced when a closing caption on an Instragram picture posted by a friend appeared to refer to the Reds manager as a "d******d" in Slovakian.
Skrtel's own personal account then supposedly replied "last hashtag is top" and later said "Hope he does" in response to the initial poster's "hope Jurgen won't see it". He has now sought to clarify the regrettable episode, insisting that he was not in control of his social media profiles at the time and stressing that the views expressed were not his.
"I am truly sorry for the situation and for what was written under my name," he said. "These days, when I am very busy, I have asked my close friend to help me manage my social media profiles.
"He got taken away and he did not realise how serious the comments may appear. I would like to stress that the opinion he expressed is not my opinion."
Physical former AS Trencin and Zenit Saint Petersburg centre-back Skrtel looks set to call time on his eight-year Liverpool career over the coming days, with The Mail reporting that Turkish outfit Fenerbahce are set to complete a £5.5m ($7.3m) deal for his services.
Those rumours were recently confirmed by Fener president Aziz Yildirim, who told AMK Spor: "The (Gregory) van der Wiel and Skrtel transfers are almost done."
Skrtel, a League Cup winner under Kenny Dalglish in 2012, has made more than 300 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool since being brought to Anfield by Rafael Benitez in January 2008 for a fee of almost £7m that made him the most expensive defensive recruit in the club's history up until that point.
He featured 22 times in the Premier League for Brendan Rodgers and successor Klopp last term but was ruled out for almost three months after suffering a hamstring strain during a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Watford in December. His absence led to Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho establishing themselves as the first-choice defensive pairing and he even fell behind Kolo Toure in the pecking order towards the end of the campaign. The imminent arrival of Cameroon international Joel Matip from Schalke has all but rendered him surplus to requirements on Merseyside.
Skrtel was recently in action at Euro 2016, where he captained Slovakia throughout a successful Group B campaign that saw Jan Kozak's side bounce back from a narrow opening defeat to Wales with a Marek Hamsik-inspired 2-1 victory over Russia and a defensively sound goalless draw with England. Their first European Championship finals as an independent nation ended at the last-16 stage with goals from Jerome Boateng, Julian Draxler and Mario Gomez sealing a predictable 3-0 defeat to reigning world champions Germany in Lille.