Pepe’s Zidane moment could cost Real dear

April 22, 2009

Real Madrid’s Portuguese defender Pepe faces a lengthy ban that could extend to the end of the season after he had an astonishing Zinedine Zidane moment against Getafe on Tuesday.

I had the evening off and watched the match in a Madrid bar and the looks of disbelief on the faces of the punters around me reminded me of the reaction to the Frenchman’s headbutt in the World Cup final in Berlin in 2006.

There was less at stake on Tuesday but Pepe’s meltdown could hurt Real badly as he is almost certain to miss next week’s “Clasico” against leaders Barcelona at the Bernabeu and may be unavailable for the remaining four league matches after that. He will also miss Sunday’s match at third-placed Sevilla.

The Brazilian-born defender, who moved to Madrid from Porto for 30 million euros in the summer of 2007, has forged an effective partnership with Fabio Cannavaro in central defence and his absence will severely weaken Real as they attempt to overhaul Barca and clinch a third consecutive title.

For those of you who haven’t seen the incident, which happened with the scores level at 2-2 and three minutes left, Pepe totally lost his cool after pushing over Francisco Casquero and conceding a penalty.

He kicked Casquero once on the ground and raked his studs over the midfielder’s back with a vicious second swipe. In the ensuing melee he struck another Getafe player, Juan Albin, in the face.

As he stormed off the pitch, he said “You are all sons of whores” to the fourth official and then committed a further offence by running back on to celebrate Gonzalo Higuain’s dramatic winner in added time.

It’s not a first sending-off in Real colours for Pepe, who apologised for his actions and said he was not a violent player. He had a nightmare home debut against Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup in August 2007 when he conceded a penalty and was later red carded. He was also dismissed in the Champions League defeat to Roma in March.

But he has never imploded in quite the same way before and his inexplicable reaction on Tuesday did seem out of character for a usually fair-minded player.

His fate will likely be known by the end of the week and it would be no great surprise if the disciplinary body comes down hard.

FILE PHOTO: Real Madrid’s Pepe gestures during a match against Valencia at the Bernabeu, March 23, 2008. REUTERS/Juan Medina


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

[…] to Source Tags: added time, Albin, Barcelona, berlin, bernabeu, central defence, consecutive title, […]

Posted by Pepe’s Zidane moment could cost Real dear | Soccer News Info | Report as abusive

I wish referees officiating match of Baclays premier league should be fare to all teams. For example, the match between Liverpool and Arsenal indicates poor officiating which resulted Arsenal drawing. I think the last goal scored by Cesc Fabregas was not offside.

Posted by adams Yakubu | Report as abusive

10 games but lokoing at it on youtube it could have been even more. the question is, has he been giving lessons to caleb forlan?

Posted by jimbo | Report as abusive

Real Madrid’s president has backed Pepe without condemning his actions, while coach Juande Ramos has said the punishment is over the top for a momentary lapse.
A Real Madrid junior team won their league on the weekend and dedicated the title to Pepe.
Has Pepe really been hard done by? Has he done nothing wrong? Has he been victimised?
What shocked me about the incident is that he kicked the player once, then again, knelt on his back, shoved the player’s face into the turf, stepped on him, hit another player in the face, swore at the linesman/fourth official as he walked off, then ran back onto the pitch to join in the celebartions for the winning goal.
That is a five-minute long momentay lapse and Real Madrid will lose even more credibility if they appeal the decision.

Posted by mark | Report as abusive