There has been an outpouring of disdain in response to the behaviour of Pepe in the latest Classico between Barcelona and Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday. In another hot tempered game between the top two sides in Spain, which Barcelona won 2-1, Real Madrid again resorted to thuggery when things started going against them.
They took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half but lost control thereafter. Real Madrid’s Ricardo Carvalho, though displaying some typically good defending early on, could easily have been sent off. But, as most will know by now , Pepe was the main culprit of the underhanded tactics. It’s amazing that the guy didn’t get sent off for some disgraceful antics, which would have been more suited to the classic football film, Escape To Victory.
There were several serious contenders, but arguably the most shameful moment came when Pepe trod on the hand of an already grounded Lionel Messi. Messi took a pummeling all night but, to his great credit, he just kept getting up with minimum fuss – a great player in so many ways. Pepe could be described as Messi’s alter ego then. Stamping, play acting and generally displaying all that is Machiavellian about the game. Surely he will get punished retrospectively. On TalkSport today Andy Gray said that Pepe’s performance ‘beggared belief’ .
Wayne Rooney said on Twitter “Pepe. What an idiot. Sometimes people wind u up.”
Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho need to learn to lose gracefully. They are not only technically inferior to Barcelona but, playing in this manner, they are becoming ever more unpopular around the world of football.
Some would argue that it’s great to watch however. At least El Classico retains its interest – if not so much for footballing reasons.