The Portuguese defender, Pepe, was recently left out of the starting line-up against the Turkish club Galatasaray in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Pepe has established himself as one of the important members of the squad over the last few years, and it was a shock for many to see him out of the starting line-up in such a crucial match. However, manager José Mourinho has said that he left the defender out of the starting line-up because there was a high level of competition within the squad. He said that he was really gifted to have such a strong squad at his disposal.
Instead of the Portuguese defender, Mourinho decided to use the youngster Varane in partnership with Sergio Ramos at the back. The result of the match cannot bring Mourinho any criticism because they managed to win this crucial first leg encounter 3-0 with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Gonzalo Higuain. It has a thorough performance that almost puts Real Madrid in the semifinals of the competition. Pepe recently underwent an operation in order to recover from an injury problem.
Mourinho has confirmed that the player has indeed made a good recovery following this surgery. Mourinho has said that Pepe will certainly feel aggrieved because he has not been in this position before.
“Pepe’s situation is the norm at clubs like Real Madrid, where competition for places is high. Players who come out of the team, due to injury or suspension, are replaced by others of high quality. This makes it difficult for them to then get back in the team. It makes it difficult for me now, because I’ve got a lot of players in good condition. It’s quite new experience for Pepe, because he will not feel his place is guaranteed,” said Mourinho.