Jose Mourinho is going to regret including Pepe in the frame for their El Clasico match with Barcelona. Pepe made no friends the on Barcelona the last time these two clubs met, and they are going to get their retribution by running Real Madrid right off the pitch.
Pepe's actions in their last meeting have created a bit of an uproar, and it is certainly well-earned. First, he pretended that Cesc Fabregas hit him in the face. That is a good day's work of chicanery for most people, but not for Pepe. He saved his coup de grace for later when he appears to deliberately stomp on Lionel Messi's hand.
Needless to say, these actions were not well-received.
Despite the public outcry, Pepe faced no punishment for his actions.
And now he is set to face Messi and Barcelona again.
Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola is down playing Pepe's potential presence for this game. Here is Guardiola, as quoted by the staff at ESPNsoccernet.com:
Let's leave Pepe in peace. If his coach plays him, we will forget what has happened. Nobody should think that we are already qualified. We are half-way there, but Madrid can still knock us out. I have a feeling they will score, so we will have to score too.
Guardiola can say they will forget about the incident all he wants, but that doesn't mean we have to believe it. Players are not going to let a heinous act like that slip idly from their memory.
They will remember, and they will be motivated to bury Real Madrid for having the audacity to play him.
Lionel Messi will have his sights set on showing up Pepe by schooling him on the pitch, and there is no amount of stomping that can save Pepe from this fate.
Messi will get some help from his teammates, but he won't need much. He will net two goals in this match and lead his team to an easy victory.
Score: Barcelona 3, Real Madrid 1