World Football

Pepe Hits Back at Chelsea Boss Jose Mourinho over Real Madrid Mirror Jibes

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05:  Pepe of Real Madrid CF celebrates Jese Rodriguez's goal during the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 5, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2014

Real Madrid defender Pepe has shrugged off recent claims from former manager Jose Mourinho, who claimed that the players at the Bernabeu are "vain." 

Speaking on Spanish radio's El Primer Toque (h/t ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan) the centre-back addressed the statements made by his former coach:

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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:  Manager Jose Mourinho of Chelsea talks to the media during a press conference at Stamford Bridge on March 7, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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:

Pepe's reply comes in response to Mourinho's comments about the pre-match rituals undertaken at the Bernabeu during an interview with Esquire magazine (h/t Daily Mail's Martin Robinson):

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.

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 05:  Pepe of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their opening goal during the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 5, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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.

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