Zinedine Zidane has jumped
to the defence of Pepe and Jose Mourinho, who have both been
subject to intense criticism in local media after Real Madrid's
King's Cup defeat to Barcelona during the week.
Mourinho's "negative" tactics in the 2-1 quarter-final first
leg home loss and Pepe's stamp on Lionel Messi's hand have seen
the normally supportive Madrid-based press turning on the
Portuguese pair since Wednesday's game.
"I think all the criticisms aimed at Madrid, their coach and
the players are very unfair," the former Real Madrid and France
midfielder told sports daily As on Friday.
"Pepe is a player you almost never hear a squeak from off
the pitch. He's a charming lad, very polite. But when he goes on
the pitch, he is obsessed with winning and this anxiety to win
sees him make mistakes.
"Obviously he has apologised for what he has done, but Pepe
is a player who gives his all on the field of play, and
sometimes he goes to the limit," added Zidane, who was brought
in to work with Mourinho as first team director of football last
Madrid sports dailies As and Marca both continued their
attacks on Pepe and Mourinho on Friday.
Marca questioned the club's decision to support Pepe by
recording a message through their television channel on
Thursday, in which he said standing on Messi's hand had been
"Pepe has distorted reality and made Real Madrid complicit
in an action which has shamed the club's fans," a Marca opinion
piece said, when he "should have faced the facts and asked for
"NOBODY BELIEVES HIM"
A Barca vice-president Carles Vilarrubi dismissed Pepe's
"Nobody believes him," said Vilarrubi, who went on to draw
parallels with the incident when Mourinho jabbed a finger in the
eye of Barca assistant coach Tito Vilanova at the end of the
Spanish Super Cup back in August.
"The problem is that people feel protected," he told Spanish
radio. "After the finger-in-the-eye incident the club issued a
justification for it [when Real said Mourinho had been
provoked]. This generates a culture where Pepe felt free to act
and to do what he did.
"The whole world has seen it. Barca don't need to make
Marca's leading story on Friday, titled "The seven sins of
Mourinho," knocked the former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach's
tactics, choice of personnel, substitutions and post-match
analysis of the Cup game.
Zidane said of the attacks on Mourinho: "How can they say we
need a change of coach? Are they mad or what? Look at the
statistics since he has been here, they are incredible.
"To think that some doubt his commitment to Madrid and that
he will stay only two years and then go. Sincerely, I would
prefer that he stayed only two or three years and did something
great, to someone else who stayed ten and did nothing."
Leaders Real Madrid host Athletic Bilbao in La Liga on
Sunday and will then seek to overturn their King's Cup deficit
in the second leg at Barcelona next Wednesday.
Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho will part company at the end of the current season
Manchester City midfielder called up to the England squad for summer friendlies
Spurs miss out on Champions League again despite highest Premier League points tally
Champions closer to matching Real Madrid's La Liga record of 100 points with 2-1 win
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010