He affirmed that his attack had been "unintentional. "It would never occur to me to cause damage to a teammate," said the defender, who is known for his repeated rough fouls.
The spanish sports press was even more harsh on pepe after this "unbelievable" apology on friday. "He cheats, kicks with pigeons and on top of that he leers," wrote the newspaper "sport" on its front page. The tv pictures clearly showed that pepe deliberately put a fub on messi’s hand when the argentinian was sitting on the pitch.
Barcelona had won the explosive duel on wednesday night with 2:1 (0:1) and thus inflicted another bitter defeat on the arch-rival. The second leg of the quarterfinals of the cup will take place next wednesday at the camp nou of barcelona.
Pepe received support from the former world footballer zinedine zidane. "He’s a charming guy, very courteous. But when he goes out on the pitch, he is obsessed with winning. And that demand makes him make mistakes," said the real sports director.
For the real-affiliated sports newspaper "marca" pepe has only made matters worse with his cleanup and damaged the image of the spanish record champion even more. "Marca" considers it likely that pepe will be sidelined by coach jose mourinho for at least two weeks. If he were to play barca in the quarterfinals next week, "holle" would be waiting for him at camp nou stadium."
On the other hand, the sports paper "as" assumes that real will not impose a penalty on the controversial portuguese. "We were going to gain little by leaving him out. The player has a strong character. Nevertheless, for us it is certain that he did not want to harm him intentionally," the newspaper quoted an unnamed real spokesman as saying.