La Liga 2016-17: Pepe wishes to retire at the Bernabeu, says contract extension depends on the club
Real Madrid continued their fine run of form with a 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon which solidified their lead at the summit of La Liga. This win will maintain the pressure on other title contenders in Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
Real Madrid welcomed Pepe back into the starting lineup after he missed over a month of action with an injury. After the win, Pepe has reiterated his desire to stay with the Los Blancos after this season and also wished that he would get to retire at the Bernabeu.
Madrid won thanks to a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo which takes his tally to more than 50 goals in this calendar year. Pepe started alongside captain Sergio Ramos with Nacho moving to the leftback spot. This has been the best year of Pepe's career as the 33 year old won the Champions League with Real and also lifted the Euros trophy with his national team, Portugal.
When asked about his future, Pepe replied, "My contract situation is up to the club. I'll wait until the last day of my contract if I have to. I want to retire here. It will be what the club wants. My renewal is in Real's hands. I will wait for the club until the last second of my contract." He also talked about his team's performance which dipped in the second half.
He continued, "We started very well and should have settled the game earlier, but things got more complicated. It's true that we slowed down and lost some intensity, but it was a strange match and it was cold and wet." Pepe is in his last year of his contract with many reports have emerged which reflect that the club are looking to find a replacement for the Portuguese defender.
Real manager, Zinedine Zidane had earlier expressed his desire to hand Pepe at least a one-year extension but the club seems to be having doubts over his contribution to the team. His age and poor injury record have made his case difficult as the Los Blancos have decided to play the duo of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos as their first choice centre-backs.
Real Madrid recently tied down Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to long-term contracts with Pepe's future set to be sorted in the coming few months. If Pepe is not offered an extension, the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have been rumoured to be interested in the 33 year old robust defender.