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Pepe reflects on his time as a Real Madrid defender

Sat 16 January 2021 | 17:10

The Portuguese player admitted that it wasn’t always easy to play for the La Liga giants.


Real Madrid

star and current




, admitted that when he arrived at Santiago Bernabeu, the team was in a defensive mess.

"My first game was against Atletico Madrid."

Pepe told

Marca. "I was coming from a club that was organised tactically where, if the ball was on the left, you have to press there. If it was on the right, you pressed there - things like that, the basics.”

"And what I came across at Real Madrid was chaos. In the 30th minute, our attack broke down and they came at us one against one and we ran backwards.”

"I looked back to Fabio [Cannavaro] and said to him: 'Fabio! Fabio! Cover, cover!' And he said to me: 'No, no, we don't do that here. Each person has their own side'. And I was like: 'It's like that? F*ck me'.”

"I was looking around and saw the full-backs high up, the defensive midfielder forward. I was thinking: 'What? There's 50 metres behind me and I'm in a one-on-one?’"

Later admitting that it was not easy to play for a star-studded team, Pepe added:

"In pre-season, I practically didn't talk - I only trained and watched, because I'm an observer. It was about work and more work.”

"Then, we were on a plane to Austria and [Cannavaro] happened to sit in front of me. I caught him reading a magazine and, when I realised that he'd finished it and the plane was about to take off, I put on a brave face and asked him: 'Cannavaro, Cannavaro, can you give me the magazine?'”

"And Cannavaro looked back and said to me: 'Cannavaro? My name is Fabio'. And he turned his back on me. I didn't know what to do. It seemed like an eternity before he gave me the magazine."

The 37-year-old, who had the chance to play alongside players like

Cristiano Ronaldo

, concluded:

"It wasn't an easy dressing room. All the players were top internationals. As a result, everyone was important, not only the starters.”

"But there's a brutal pressure: if you win, things are going well, you stay in the team and at the club. If you don't win, you're out, another player comes in and is ready. If you don't perform, you have others waiting that want to put pressure on your place, so you always have to be at your best."

source: SportMob