I'm not a killer, pleads Madrid hard man Pepe
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) –
Real Madrid’s bruising centre-back Pepe said on Tuesday that his reputation for on-pitch thuggery is undeserved and that he gets a “raw deal” from referees.
The Brazil-born Portugal international has found himself in hot water with the Spanish football authorities several times during his five-year career with Madrid.
He was banned for 10 matches for lashing out at a pair of Getafe players during a match in April 2009 and was criticised for stamping on the hand of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi in a King’s Cup tie earlier this year.
A search for the shaven-headed 29-year-old on video-sharing website YouTube yields a glut of compilations celebrating his uncompromising style, but Pepe feels his on-pitch misdemeanours get blown out of proportion.
“I get a raw deal in 60 percent of games — if I foul someone, it’s like I’ve killed them,” he said at a press conference ahead of his side’s Champions League game against Manchester City on Wednesday.
“I think I get a raw deal from referees. But as a professional footballer I have to accept it, and that’s what I do.
“I roll up my sleeves and I’m happy to get on with being a professional footballer for Real Madrid.”