Leeds-linked ace apologises to fans for controversial gestures, still set for loan exit

Fiorentina midfielder Josip Ilicic has apologised to fans after two gestures against Napoli.

After being booed off the pitch by his own fans last weekend, Fiorentina playmaker Josip Ilicic has issued an explanation and an apology to fans.

Ilicic, 26, was first seen throwing a black armband on the floor - which was in memory of Fiorentina legend Giovanbattista Pirovano, and then was seen leaving the pitch with his finger to his lips when booed off the pitch having been substituted.

Now, in a bid to diffuse what is becoming an increasingly fractious situation in Florence, the Slovenian international has apologised for his actions.

"I accept criticism but I don’t take personal offences," Ilicic said. "I threw the black armband on the ground because it kept falling from my arm – I didn’t want to show a lack of respect to anyone.

"Also, I didn’t really feel uncomfortable for the fans’ whistles at the end of the game against Napoli," he continued. "That gesture was aimed at somebody who talked badly about me and my family. It was instinctive, but I am ready to say sorry.

"I just want the best for this shirt and this group. I always want to give my best for this shirt."

Ilicic is having a miserable season so far, and was recently linked with a loan move to Leeds United. That was during the era of his compatriot of Darko Milanic though, and whilst you never know with Massimo Cellino's contacts in Italy, a move to Elland Road looks unlikely now, especially with Adryan blossoming under Neil Redfearn.

However, journalist Riccardo Gaggi says that Ilicic's relationship with Fiorentina is 'damaged', and the club want to loan him out in January in order to keep him playing, thus retaining his value.

A move to another Serie A club is probably the most likely destination, but with Cellino at the helm, you just never know who is going to turn up at Elland Road next.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch