Pepe: I have never thought about leaving Real Madrid

The Portuguese defender is paying little attention to his critics and insists he has what it takes to play for the Santiago Bernabeu side
Real Madrid defender Pepe insists that he is not thinking about leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Portugal international has received much criticism this season for his physical approach to the game following his infamous stamp on Lionel Messi in a Copa del Rey match against Barcelona in January.

But Pepe believes that he deserves to wear Madrid's shirt and insists that he never considered the possibility of leaving the club.

"We all have flaws, but I do not think I have any which forbids me from playing for this club," he told reporters at a press conference.

"I give my body and soul to defend this club and for all the fans who come to see us. I have never thought about leaving. I really like being at Madrid, the fans like me and I like them.

"I just signed a new contract last year and I hope I will see it out."

The 29-year-old was then asked about his opinion on his two-game ban for verbally abusing the referee in the wake of the 1-1 draw against Villarreal last month.

"That is a decision for the referees," Pepe said. "They are here to do their work and I am here to play.

"This is something you will have to decide amongst yourselves. It's the referee's decision and I will not give my opinion."

Starting in March and continuing for 10 weeks, is publishing exclusive extracts from Luca Caioli's new book, Ronaldo: The Obsession for Perfection. The second extract, published on Friday, looks at how Cristiano earned his 'cry-baby' nickname. Don't miss it!