I have to be honest, I wasn’t that excited about the Champions League final last weekend. The match kicked off at 2:45am in Malaysia and I was unsure about getting up to watch it (the middle of the night matches seem to exact a harsher toll than they once did; the price of ageing).
I went to bed without setting my alarm and decided that if I happened to wake up during the night while the game was on then I would get up. I woke up at 3:30am.
Thus I caught the second half, extra time, and penalties before returning to bed, exhausted, around 5:30am. What I saw in this nocturnal interlude was a very spirited and composed performance from Atletico (the job that Simeone has done is truly immense) a rather insipid showing from Real, and, from Pepe, one of the most outrageous displays of cheating I’ve ever seen.
It’s unlikely that Pepe is a reader of this blog but just in case you are reading this Mr. Ferreira, you are a complete and utter disgrace. Your pantomime performance was pitiful and clearly the concept of shame is entirely unfamiliar to you.
Once upon a time, football was a man’s game played by men who would never, ever have dreamed of feigning injury in the way you did repeatedly in Milan. It’s called cheating and you are both a charlatan and a cheat.
It’s incredible that you weren’t sent off, for which we can blame referee Clattenburg who shook his head at you in disgust but inexplicably failed to wave his red card in your direction. Football will not rid itself of the sort of antics that you exemplify until referees and the sport’s authorities start punishing them much more severely.
If it were up to me you would be banned from the group stages of next year’s tournament as an absolute minimum (and possibly made to walk the streets of Madrid wearing a sandwich board with the words ‘I am a charlatan and a cheat’).
‘Bringing the game into disrepute’ has become an increasingly catch-all charge issued by the authorities and yet your performance in one of the game’s most high profile occasions has gone completely unpunished. I have rarely seen football more in disrepute than it was last Saturday as you clutched your face in mock agony.
Football is the beautiful game but it has some depressingly ugly sides and you represent one of the ugliest of them all. Stop diving, stop cheating, and stop acting (an activity at which you display precious little skill) like a spoilt brat.
Acting is not the only activity for which Pepe shows little aptitude, football is another. His clumsy concession of the penalty in the second half summed up his shortcomings as a defender: rash, reckless, and lacking in composure.
How Pepe gets a game for Real Madrid is surely one of the wonders of the modern world.
But he does and Real must accept responsibility for him. Clubs are very concerned about their image these days and Pepe is an employee who brought shame upon his employers last Saturday.
Did they discipline him? I very much doubt it; not with all the celebrating to be done and selfies to be taken. So, the referee failed to punish him on the pitch, the authorities failed to punish him retrospectively, and it’s unlikely that he’s been called to account by his club.
Perhaps Pepe’s conscience has been pricked by the backlash that’s followed his actions but more likely he’s still grinning inanely, looking up at his selfie stick. Take a look in the mirror instead Pepe and see what the rest of us see in you: a real disgrace.