Pepe believes Iker Casillas is still the best goalkeeper in the world despite once again being jeered by a section of the Real Madrid fans.
The Madrid captain was the target of the boo boys at the Santiago Bernabeu against Schalke on Tuesday night, some of whom blamed him for at least two of the Bundesliga outfit’s goals in the 4-3 Champions League defeat.
Casillas has come under fire in the last two seasons and lost his place in the starting line-up to Diego Lopez, first under Jose Mourinho and then Carlo Ancelotti, but defender Pepe is backing him to ride out the storm.
“Right now Iker is the best goalkeeper in the world and it’s strange that somebody like him gets whistled,” the Portuguese told La COPE.
“Things were never clear when Mourinho was here and I paid the price for saying Iker should be respected for what he has done for Spain. That was unfair.
“People forget what he’s won and everything he’s given to football and that was quite painful for me to see. When I came out and said he deserves respect it was taken as though I was his best friend and we then became everyone’s enemy.
“Iker accepted the situation as best he could because he knows what it means to wear the Madrid shirt better than any of us and always defends the club.”
Pepe also touched on the hatred shown towards Madrid by other teams and supporters in Spain.
“Whenever we play at another ground here we can sense how much the fans dislike us, the same as when Mourinho was with us, but Madrid is a massive club and we’ve cleaned up our image.
“Now Isco gets an ovation when he is replaced and that’s something that would have been unthinkable before,” he added.