Pepe has defended Real Madrid and Portugal teammate Cristiano Ronaldo from criticism. ‘I’d like to be in his situation…”
The central defender appeared before the Press to preview Madrid’s Champions League Round of 16 second leg with Roma, Los Blancos comfortable after a 2-0 away win in the first meeting.
“The best way to approach a game like this is with humility, team spirit and wanting to win the game. We’ll try to do that to come out on top,” Pepe said, AS reports.
“We don’t forget Schalke last year. The Coach has told us to approach the game to win, seriously. I watched the first leg on TV. They have fast wingers and we’ll give everything to defend the crest of Madrid.”
It was put to Pepe that winning the Champions League would ‘save Madrid’s season’ as they fall off the pace domestically.
“The club and the players know we have to learn a lot of lessons for the future. We won’t go crazy saying we’ll win the Champions League,” he went on.
“We want to win, but we know there are other teams with the same capacity as us. It will be difficult and we have to give everything. The team is together and fighting for the Champions League.”
Pepe captained Madrid in the win over Celta Vigo and noted the positive atmosphere in Santiago Bernabeu then, but complained of the criticism to which Ronaldo is subjected.
“In the most difficult moment [against Celta] the fans were with us and it shows on the field. We ask the fans to do the same against Roma, because our fans and us together are much stronger.
“Cristiano? He’s top scorer, he’s scored a lot of goals and people keep criticising him. I want to be in his situation.
“I think we have to focus on ourselves, to be together, because we’re stronger together.”