real star hangs head

Pepe reveals shame of Casquero kick

April 23, 2009

Real Madrid defender Pepe has been left devastated and disillusioned with football in the wake of Tuesday's derby clash with Getafe where he "lost control'' after conceding a late penalty and being sent off.

APReal Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas acts as mediator as tempers flair against Getafe

Pepe was shown a red card and had to be escorted off the pitch by team-mate Iker Casillas after twice aiming kicks at the prone Javi Casquero, who he had just pushed over to concede an 87th-minute spot-kick. He also struck Juan Albin in the face.

Pepe immediately went public following the game to apologise for his actions but the Portugal defender is still facing a big ban, with Spanish media suggesting he could be ruled out for the final six games of the season while Getafe president Angel Torres has called for a 10-match suspension.

Whatever ban he is handed though, Pepe insists he is already suffering the worst punishment.

"It was the longest night of my life. I've never felt like that and I hope I never feel like that again,'' he told Marca.

"I've been in football several years and it's been the worst day of my life as a player and as a person. I've never felt like I did on Tuesday. Now I have to try to move on.''

The incident came during a frenetic final 10 minutes at the Bernabeu and just moments after Guti looked to have salvaged Madrid a draw by firing home a free-kick to tie the scores up at 2-2.

Casquero, having broken through on goal, went tumbling inside the box under Pepe's challenge and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, giving Getafe the chance to all but end Madrid's title challenge.

Pepe then launched his attack on Casquero and Albin that has left him facing an extended ban.

"I'm devastated and very sad. I feel disappointed with myself. The only words I can find right now are to apologise to the players and their families, to the fans and to my team-mates,'' the 26-year-old continued.

"I didn't recognise myself at that moment. I lost control for a few minutes. I wanted to win the game so we could continue fighting for the league.

"My only desire was that my team won and I found myself giving away a penalty. This action made me crazy and everything came after that.

"At the moment I committed the penalty foul on Casquero I felt that I was to blame for Madrid losing the league. I felt frustrated.

"I've seen the incident repeated and I insist I don't recognise myself. I was only aware of what I did at the end of the game. That's why I spoke to the press immediately to apologise to everyone.

"I'm human and everybody has a bad moment in their life, but I can assure that this is not going to happen again. I also have a family and I wouldn't like them to suffer for what I've done.''

Pepe also admitted that he had lost all enthusiasm to play.

"If I have the opportunity to continue playing football, I'm going to try to do things in the best way possible. But if I feel that I'm not in the right state to return to playing, I will continue with my normal life and try to do something else to support my family.''

When asked if that meant Pepe was suggesting he might leave football, the defender said: "At this point I have no desire to do anything. I've been deeply affected.

"I'm going to wait and see what happens with the sanction. It's been very tough for me. I've acted badly, but I don't think that my whole career should be judged by one action. I'm very sad and right now I have no desire to get back to playing.

"Nobody knows how I feel. I'm depressed and I don't have the words to describe how I feel. The biggest punishment that I could receive is what I'm feeling now.''

The good news for Pepe is that Madrid still remarkably managed to beat Getafe despite that late penalty and the defender's red card.

Casquero's poor spot-kick was saved by Casillas and then, as the game entered stoppage time, Gonzalo Higuain scored a brilliant winner to give Madrid a 3-2 victory which allowed them to stay within six points of leaders Barcelona heading into the final straight.