Real Madrid defender Pepe has shrugged off recent claims from former manager Jose Mourinho, who claimed that the players at the Bernabeu are "vain."
Mou must be the only human being who gets up in the morning and does not look at himself in the mirror. We do not criticise, these are things that everyone does each day. It did not affect us at all.
It is normal we fix ourselves up to give a good image for the club we represent. We are at Real Madrid, when we go out there are cameras and all the media. I believe it is totally normal.
Mourinho sat at Real's helm from May 2010 until May 2013 in a tenure that didn't always boast a loving relationship between the players and their manager.
Regardless, the Portuguese did still manage to win one La Liga title, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Supercup during his time with Los Merengues.
Former Real Madrid general manager Jorge Valdano was recently quoted by Marca (h/t Eurosport) saying the tactician's time at the club was a disappointment, however:
Lots of times at Real Madrid, the players would be queuing in front of the mirror before the game while the referee waited for them in the tunnel.
But that’s how society is now. Young people care a lot about this: they are twenty something and I am 51 and if I want to work with kids I have to understand their world.
With Carlo Ancelotti now in the manager's post, Real are close to booking their place in this season's Champions League quarter-finals and currently find themselves three points clear at the summit of La Liga.
Pepe has been a prominent figure in both those campaigns, making 35 starts across all club competitions this term, scoring three league goals and making three assists, per Transfermarkt.
His defence of how players fix up their image for the "cameras and all the media" perhaps isn't a view that would have been totally accepted 20 years ago, but as Mourinho hints, the times are a'changing.
Perhaps this new level of scrutiny that the football fraternity has built up around the sport's icons means stars are under more pressure than ever to look the part. While Real are winning, and looking good in doing so, few will back Mourinho's criticisms.