Paris: Portuguese defender Pepe has volunteered to injure his Portugal and Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo during every match of the next World Cup to boost Portugal’s chances of a victory. Pepe made this offer after a Ronaldo-less Portugal earned a hard fought victory over hosts France in the final of Euro 2016.
Portugal were getting played off the park by a buoyant France in the early stages before Ronaldo had to leave after a clumsy tackle by Dimitri Payet. After Ronaldo’s departure, France lost their fluency and Portugal held on before an Eder goal in extra time gave them the trophy. Pepe is looking at Ronaldo’s injury as a lucky omen and thinks they can pull off a win in Russia in 2 years time if they repeat it.
“Well you saw how France was totally dominating us while Ronaldo was still out there. However, his injury brought us back to life and after that we gave few chances to French attackers. I think his injury was the key moment that won us the game. Russia 2018 is likely to be my last major tournament and I want to do everything I can to win Portugal that title”, said Pepe who was outstanding himself during the game.
“His injury gave us the strength, the energy to fight and along with that, his coaching from the sidelines was crucial too. He was screaming twice as much as our actual coach. He is a world class player but maybe he is even better as a coach so we should try to tap into that side of his personality as well”, Pepe added.
When we asked Pepe how he will make sure that he doesn’t injure Ronaldo too badly, he smiled and said,”Boss, you are talking to a professional here. I know my tackles and how much force to put in them to get the result I want.”
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi was wondering whether Argentina would have won one of the three finals they lost on the trot if he had gone off injured in any one of them.