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Pepe has been one of the most important plants in the recent history of the Real Madrid. Along with players like Sergio Ramos, Early or Cannavaro formed one of the most feared defenses in the world. In addition, the Portuguese did not leave anyone indifferent due to his hardness and forcefulness and for being a defender who did not walk around with little girls when the ball was around the white area.
The now player of the Port He was an icon within Real Madrid, although he did not end up leaving the Real Madrid team well after having demanded a two-year renewal when the club was willing to offer him a formula of one plus another for objectives. However, he keeps a great memory of having defended the merengue shield.
His arrival was really controversial because he was baptized as the central 30 million, an amount that Real Madrid paid to Porto for him. At that time, Pepe arrived as one of the best center-backs in the world, expeditious and correct and that in Madrid he also learned to act as a defensive pivot in that great team armed by Mourinho for special occasions.
Pepe has given an interview to the Portuguese media Espresso in which he has reviewed, among other things, his signing for the Madrid team: “Ufff … My signing for Real Madrid? Everything was very fast, but in fact I could have gone earlier, but not to Madrid, but to Deportivo La Coruña, at the end of my first year in Porto “.
“President Pinto da Costa He told me: ‘No, no, not in any way, you will stay longer here at FC Porto.’ But the press kept writing some things and Jorge Mendes He told me others: ‘There is a club England interested, is this other … ‘You know? And the more he played, the more clubs appeared. “
“In the third year I renewed for another five and at the end of the season the proposal from Real Madrid came, although I had other opportunities. And I really wanted Real Madrid, despite the fact that many people told me that I was crazy to go there, because It was very difficult and, above all, because it was a central cemetery. At that time, Real had a gap to fill from the start of Iron and I wanted this challenge. They still tried to get me to go somewhere else, but I was always very direct: ‘Real doesn’t want? Don’t you pay FC Porto? If you do all that then it’s done. ‘
His white stage
In this way, Pepe ended up arriving at Real Madrid for what was then an exorbitant amount. 30 million for a center back from Portuguese football that even exceeded the signing of Ramos: “The Spanish press is much tougher than the Portuguese, I guarantee that. My signing went like this: I left the Porto concentration, bought clothes at the airport and when I arrive to T4 from Madrid I had many journalists waiting for me. “
“Jorge Mendes warned me: ‘When you go out the door, you’re going to have a lot of people by your side, give me your bag.’ I gave Jorge my bag, which I remember was a shoulder bag, I opened the door and the journalists told me they asked the first question: ‘Pepe, Pepe, do you have the 30 million in that bag?’ Hey, I didn’t know what to say; I felt a little push on my back and Jorge said: ‘Come on, come on, don’t talk.’ Pfff … ‘The 30 million? What do you think? I didn’t know how to speak Spanish. So, yes, It was hard”.
After his arrival in the white team, Pepe coincided with heavyweights like Cannavaro, with whom he had a special encounter: “In the preseason I practically did not speak, I only trained and watched, because I am very observant. So, we would go on the plane to Austria and it happened that he sat down in front of me. “
“I caught him reading a magazine and when I realized that it was over and the plane was going to land, I got brave and said: ‘Cannavaro, Cannavaro, can I have the magazine?’ And Cannavaro looked towards back and he said: ‘Cannavaro? My name is Fabio’. And he turned his back on me. I didn’t know what to say. It was seconds, maybe minutes, but that seemed like an eternity, until he gave me the magazine. “
Pepe also remembered what that first Madrid was like when he arrived: “My first game was against him. Atlético de Madrid. I came from a tactically organized club, in which if the ball comes out on the left side, you have to press it there, things like that, basic. And what I found in Madrid was chaos. “
“In minute 30 the game breaks and they come to us one by one and we run backwards. I turn to Fabio and say: ‘Fabio! Fabio! Cover, cover !!!’ And he He says to me: ‘No, no, this is not done here. Each one by his own side.’ I looked and saw the wingers up, the defensive pivot up … And I thought: ‘What? Fifty meters behind me and I’m here to do a one on one?’
“Then I thought calm, that I would do it well. Little by little I was gaining status. Whoever played for Real Madrid, at that moment, had to listen to the fans shouting goals, because the 2-0 was not enough; you had to score four, five, six goals and only the center-backs and the goalkeeper remained behind. “
If on the field it was not easy, in the dressing room it was not easy to live together: “It was not an easy dressing room. There, they are all high-level national team players. And therefore, they are all important, not just those eleven starters. But it is a brutal pressure: if you win, things go well, you stay in the team and in the club; if you don’t win, you leave, another player enters your place and that’s it. If you don’t have performance, you have others waiting who they want your place to squeeze, so you should always be at a high level. “
Over time, Pepe has recognized that Mourinho’s arrival was good for Madrid and that their differences are forgotten: “Mourinho came to Real Madrid to win La Décima, because that was the only thing that mattered. The club just wanted the Champions, the championship was secondary “.
“Mourinho brought a lot of hope, because he had won the Champions League with him Inter Milan at Bernabeu, and also a lot of organization and we ended up having three good years with him: we won a League, a Copa del Rey, but we couldn’t win the Champions League. Everything is fixed, solved, I have no problem with the Mister. I admire him for the work he does, these are situations that happened and that’s it. “
Later, Pepe managed to win three Champions League with Real Madrid, something he had never imagined: “That I, a boy who slept with my mother until I was 18, could win three Champions? Look, I never imagined it, it is true. I think the more you imagine, the more you forget the present. “
Pepe has also had words of thanks for Carlo Ancelotti, who was very honest with him upon arrival. Pepe came from his problems with Mourinho and his role in the team was not clear: “Ancelotti called me and he was very honest: ‘Look, Pepe, I have Sergio Ramos, I have Varane, who has a lot of quality, and I have you. . I already tell you that you are not the first option “.
At that moment, Pepe asked Carletto if he wanted him to leave, and Carletto refused. For this reason, Pepe accepted the challenge of staying and fighting: “I accept. But will you give me the opportunity to fight for my place, under equal conditions? No preferences? And Ancelotti replied: ‘This is exactly what I expected hear'”.
The relationship between the two was very good and Ancelotti wanted Pepe to play the Champions League final in Lisbon even though he arrived injured. The Italian was so confident in the team that he wanted the Portuguese to come out just a few minutes at the end to appear as a participant. However, and in a conversation in which he was Christian present, Pepe confirmed that he could not play and that he would feel as much a champion of the Champions as the most despite not playing.
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