After playing 9 consecutive seasons for Real Madrid, Pepe has finally announced his decision to leave the club and seek his footballing future elsewhere. And in the process of doing so, he has taken subtle jabs at Zinedine Zidane.
The defender thanked his teammates but indicated his displeasure regarding the club’s treatment in his final few months at Santiago Bernabeu. The 34-year-old has only started in 12 games this season for Los Blancos, which is a major deviation from a time when he used to be a sure starter for the club alongside Sergio Ramos.
Despite the Portuguese’s willingness to sign a new 2-year deal with them, Real Madrid felt otherwise, and hence, let the player go.
Having joined Real Madrid back in 2007, he has made an invaluable contribution for the club. In fact, during his long tenure in the Spanish capital, he has won 3 La Liga titles, 3 Champions League titles, and 2 Copa del Reys.
In his recent Instagram post, Pepe wrote: “The day has arrived… on July 12 2007 I arrived at Real Madrid like a boy who fulfilling a dream. Today, 10 years later, I am saying goodbye.
“Today I can only thank all those who have supported me — who, with me, have written such a lovely story. Thanks to my friends and teammates, who I know will stay with me wherever I go.
“I feel very happy with what I have achieved and will carry your kind feelings in my heart. To step out at the Santiago Bernabeu and feel your support was always magic.”
El día llego… El 12 de julio de 2007 llegue al Real Madrid con la ilusión de un niño que llegaba donde había soñado todos los días de su infancia. Hoy , 10 años después , me toca despedir y dejar de vestir este escudo. Todos , pero todos los días que vestí está camiseta , lo hice con la ilusión de siempre ! Hoy solo puedo dar las gracias a todos vosotros que me habéis apoyado, que habéis escrito comigo esta bonita historia. Gracias a cada uno de vosotros que me habéis acompañado. Gracias a todos los amigos y compañeros que sé que se quedarán allá donde vaya. Me despido también de esta ciudad, que ha visto nacer y crecer a mis hijas. Me siento muy feliz por lo que he conseguido y llevaré vuestro cariño en el corazón ! Y lo vuelvo a decir …. lo mejor de estos 10 años ??? Entrenar cada día , convivir con todos y cada uno de los empleados de este club … Pisar el Santiago Bernabéu y sentir vuestro apoyo siempre fue mágico! En mi corazón guardo vuestro cariño , y este sentimiento de deber cumplido … El Real Madrid y vuestro cariño siempre harán parte de mi Historia , de mi vida ! Gracias y Hasta Siempre ! Pepe 6 Junio 2017
Furthermore, he also spoke to El Partizado, a Spanish radio show, where he revealed that he had made up his mind to move out back in January itself. He stated: “I decided I was going back in January when I saw the club were not treating me in the best way, From there, I prepared myself mentally that my time at Madrid was ending.
“I have given everything for Madrid. They have been 10 years of a lot of pride. I gave my body and soul.”
While the Portuguese international was aware that Real do not offer a contract of more than 12 months to players over the age of 33, he believed that he was not treated right by the management. The club involved him in a dispute with the tax office, which went rotten.
He continued: “There are ways of talking and negotiating. Real Madrid’s behaviour has not been correct. The club did not defend me with the tax issue. They knew I was up to date and had no problem. That hurt me, as I always fulfilled my obligations, and they made me understand I was not valued.”
Pepe was also irked by the lack of response from the Real Madrid staff as he was recovering from an injury against Atletico Madrid. Despite his availability, he did not feature in either of Real Madrid’s final games of the season – in the La Liga or the Champions League. He had fallen down to 4th in the pecking order, behind Ramos, Varane and Nacho.
Subtly blaming the Real Madrid legend and manager Zinedine Zidane, he added: “I don’t want to blame anyone. What he [coach Zinedine Zidane] is doing for Madrid is spectacular, but there are things I still don’t understand.
“I cannot explain to you why I disappeared from the team in the last games. With Zidane we did not say goodbye properly. Zidane and Madrid knew I was going before I did.”
Talking about his future in football, he said he has offers at his disposal, and has to make a decision soon.
“I have nothing signed with another club,” he added. “I could have, but I waited as there were very important competitions to play. I am looking forward to playing for another club and giving everything. I have offers, not just PSG or Inter, also for example in England.”
It is sad to see Real Madrid follow the same path for which they were criticized not so long ago, with club legend Iker Casillas. While they certainly have the best team in Europe at the moment, a certain change seems to be lacking at the club as a whole.
Written by Srivats Venkateswaran
Sports writer with a long experience of writing in football.Was football team head at EssentiallySports. Still deeply misses Sir Alex and Berbatov at United. An introvert at heart with a poetic hand. Engineer by choice, writer by passion.