Friday, April 13, 2012
Pepe's five fiercest flashpoints at Real Madrid
Wayne Rooney called him an idiot; Bernd Schuster claimed his personality changes when he pulls on a Real Madrid shirt. But almost all are in agreement: Pepe has a problem.
The Brazilian-born defender made the headlines again on Thursday for all the wrong reasons, deflecting the attention away from what was actually a very good game of football.
Real Madrid and Barcelona met in the season's fifth Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the Catalans coming out on top, 2-1, in the first leg of the sides' Copa del Rey quarter-final clash.
Pepe, as last season against Barca, was deployed as a destroyer in midfield, and the Portugal defender lived up to that name with a fierce challenge on Sergio Busquets which earned him a booking early on, before a vicious stamp on Lionel Messi which wasn't spotted by the referee.
If it had been, the official would have been left no other option but to produce the red card. As it was, coach Jose Mourinho spared his player the possibility of that humiliation with a substitution in the closing stages.
Most of Barcelona's players would not be drawn on the incidents, but Xavi called the actions 'shameful' and others such as coach Pep Guardiola and Andres Iniesta simply said that the images 'speak for themselves'.
They certainly do. And it isn't the first time, either. Pepe's career at Real Madrid has been plagued with polemic and here, let's look at the defender's most famous flashpoints.