Real defender Pepe set to join Beşiktaş
ISTANBULPortuguese international Pepe has signed for Beşiktaş, the Turkish champion announced on July 4, bringing an end to 10 incident-packed years with Spanish giant Real Madrid.
The 34-year-old Brazilian-born defender Kepler Laveran Lima Ferreira joined Real from Porto in 2007 for 30 million euros ($34 million), winning the La Liga title in his first campaign.
His contract with Real expired last month. According to reports in the Turkish media, he is set to sign a two-year contract with Beşiktaş.
He left Real after winning three La Liga titles, two King’s Cup trophies and following three Champions League triumphs, although he missed this year’s European Cup final victory against Juventus due to an injury.
Pepe gained infamy in his second campaign in Spain by kicking Getafe’s Javier Casquero after fouling him and punching Juan Albin in a game in April 2009, earning a 10-game ban. He later said he had “lost control.”
He was sent off four times for Real, including a red card for a lunge on Barcelona’s Dani Alves in a Champions League semi-final first leg in 2011, but will be fondly remembered by the Madrid club’s fans for his spirited performances and consistent partnership with Sergio Ramos.
Pepe has made 86 appearances for Portugal and was named “Man of the Match” in the Euro 2016 final win over France.
He scored an added time equalizer in the Confederations Cup third place playoff game against Mexico on July 2 to send it into extra time where the European champions won 2-1.
Fikret Orman, the Beşiktaş chairman, was personally involved in the signing process, following efforts by the transfer committee president, Umut Güner. Orman met the center back in Lisbon after his return from the Confederations Cup in Russia on July 3. However, the final agreement came one day later, when Pepe’s tax issues with the Spanish state were removed.
Pepe appeared with a Beşiktaş jersey in the late hours of July 4, writing “No bad days, loading...” on his social media account.
Spanish media outlets said Pepe had refused offers by Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City before moving to Istanbul.
Pepe became one of the most exciting summer arrivals in the Turkish league, with Beşiktaş’s archrival Galatasaray signing with French striker Bafetimbi Gomis from Swansea City, Moroccan Younes Belhanda from Nice and Brazilian star Maicon Pereira Roque, known simply as Maicon, from Sao Paulo.
Olympic Lyon’s Mathieu Valbuena signed with Fenerbahçe, another title contender, which also signed with Malaga’s Cameroonian goalkeeper Carlos Kameni.