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Portuguese hot-head Pepe will be remembered as one of the dirtiest footballers of ALL TIME

Pepe’s highlight-reel includes enough savagery to warrant a mature rating, so it’s no surprise to see the heavy-handed defender causing pain and controversy again.

Roma winger Henrik Mkhitaryan was his latest victim in the high-stakes atmosphere of a pre-season friendly, sparking a mass brawl as the Armenian’s furious team-mates charged the Portugal veteran. Somehow Pepe went unpunished, while Mkhitaryan saw yellow for his reaction. 

The Porto bruiser has a long and illustrious list of victims, with Lionel Messi a favourite target. His iconic career will go down in history. 

Here, Sportsmail takes a look back at some of the most blatant, shameful and simply iconic moments of Pepe’s rule-bending. 

Pepe has a shiny trophy cabinet but the Portugal defender’s career has been full of drama 

The Porto veteran's latest controversy saw him slam into Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a friendly

The Porto veteran’s latest controversy saw him slam into Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a friendly  

Completely losing it 

At Real Madrid, Pepe was a flat-track bully backed by a set of powerhouse team-mates. It was a recipe for chaos. 

Surely the centre back’s most violent outburst, this one even left the man himself ‘devastated, disillusioned’ and considering retirement.

In was April 2009 at the Bernabeu, and Getafe were holding the hosts 2-2 going into the final moments. Javi Casquero had broken free of the Portuguese centre-back and sped through one-on-one with Iker Casillas. 

With no chance of a clean tackle, Pepe reached out and shoved the runaway Spaniard to the ground. The whistle blew, a penalty was given and the defender knew he wouldn’t play any further part that night. 

Pepe had to be ushered away by Iker Casillas after a disgusting challenge on Javi Casquero

Pepe had to be ushered away by Iker Casillas after a disgusting challenge on Javi Casquero

He still wasn’t satisfied, digging two spiteful kicks into Casquero, his studs grating over the Getafe captain’s back on the second swipe. 

Before Casillas – who later saved the spot-kick as Madrid won 3-2 – could escort his crazed team-mate towards the tunnel, Pepe went over to lean his shins on the victim’s back. 

A richly deserved 10-game ban and grovelling apology followed. Unfortunately for everybody except Real Madrid and Portugal players, Pepe chose to play on. 

On the biggest stage 

Even with the world watching, Pepe is prone to a moment of madness right under the referee’s nose. 

The then perm-sporting star sparked his nation’s all-time worst World Cup defeat, as a 4-0 thrashing from Germany began a miserable tournament for Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. 

In the 37th minute – with the eventual 2014 champions already ahead through Thomas Muller’s spot-kick in Salvador, Brazil – Pepe came under pressure from the hard running Bayern Munich forward in his own half. 

The centre-back attempted to turn but couldn’t shake Muller, instead taking a wild swipe at his face. 

Muller crashed to the floor clutching his head and as the referee whistled, Pepe cemented his red card. 

The No.3 confronted the stricken German and leaned-in with a strangely gentle head-butt. He could only act half surprised when the referee sent him walking. 

Muller would complete his hat-trick in the second-half, as Portugal went on to crash out in the group phase. 

Pepe got himself into deep water against Germany at the 2014 World Cup, head-butting Muller

Pepe got himself into deep water against Germany at the 2014 World Cup, head-butting Muller

The Germany forward reacted angrily and got Pepe sent-off, going on to score a hat-trick

The Germany forward reacted angrily and got Pepe sent-off, going on to score a hat-trick 

Old enemies  

There will be few players who have caused Pepe as much rage as Messi. 

The Argentine icon has skipped past the former Real Madrid man more times than he’ll admit, not to mention the portion of Messi’s record 26 El Clasico goals the heavy-handed defender couldn’t stop. 

In one match, Pepe is said to have told his Barcelona foe: ‘Against me you always s*** yourself.’ Messi replied: ‘What are you talking about? I always score against you.’ 

Back in January 2012, Pepe couldn’t resist some payback. This time, though, he somehow evaded punishment. 

Messi had just launched one of his silky runs from the halfway line when he was barged over by Jose Callejon.   

As Pepe set off to begin harassing the referee, the felled No 10 lay in his path. Take the longer route? No chance, as the centre-back paused to make three attempts at slyly stamping on Messi’s hand. 

He went unpunished retrospectively, even unashamedly claiming his actions were ‘unintentional’. 

Stuck down  

Pepe flinched and dropped to the floor in shock, flipping around to scream at his assailant before springing to his feet to tell the referee. 

All that after Morocco’s Medhi Benatia had given him a firm pat on the back as the players reset for a goal-kick. A truly Oscar-worthy performance. 

Arguably Pepe’s greatest piece of play-acting came at the 2018 World Cup, and pundits laid into him instantly. 

Martin Keown raged: ‘He’s then been tapped on the shoulder and gone down screaming. That’s pathetic. It’s hard to take him seriously. Men were men when I played.

‘If I’d have done that against Alan Shearer he’d have laughed and walked over the top of me.’  

Medhi Benatia made the mistake of touching Pepe during a game, as Morocco player Portugal

Medhi Benatia made the mistake of touching Pepe during a game, as Morocco player Portugal 

Pepe went crashing to the floor after receiving a pat on the back from the Moroccan defender

Pepe went crashing to the floor after receiving a pat on the back from the Moroccan defender 

Rio Ferdinand added: ‘He must be embarrassed when he sees himself on TV behaving like that. He must be embarrassed for his kids to see that.’   

While Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo have made an art out of going down softly to draw a free-kick, Pepe takes a more blatant approach. 

In the 2014 Champions League final he was already rolling around on the floor when Felipe Luis approached to encourage him to let the game play-on. 

Luis bent down to touch Pepe’s face, prompting the centre-back to clutch his face once again – while the Atletico Madrid man smiled and walked away in disbelief. 

Pepe tried to appeal to the referee but got nothing, as he was ridiculed online for the dive

Pepe tried to appeal to the referee but got nothing, as he was ridiculed online for the dive 

Referee’s nightmare     

Although Pepe managed to avoid a red card during the 90 minutes, he wasn’t going to miss out on the drama when Real Madrid’s clash with Villarreal exploded into chaos in March 2012.  

Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil were sent off with five minutes remaining after Marcos Senna had equalised late on, which also prompted boss Jose Mourinho’s dismissal. 

Pepe couldn’t contain his frustration after the match, as things spilled-over in the tunnel. 

The centre-back shouted at the referee: ‘What a robbery, you son of a b****!’

He was handed a two-match ban for the incident, one of many dished out to the Portuguese menace by the Spanish FA.  

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