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The Catalans' former president has been left distinctly unimpressed with the Portuguese defender's statement on the incident, which has provoked outrage throughout the game

Joan Gaspart has urged Real Madrid defender Pepe to admit his guilt over his allegedly deliberate stamp on Barcelona's Lionel Messi during Wednesday night's Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Pepe appeared to intentionally tread on his Argentine opponent's hand during the second half of the game in the Spanish capital and the Portugal international has been roundly criticised in the media for his actions.

However, the centre-half issued a statement on Thursday saying that while he was sorry for any offence caused, he had not deliberately stamped on Messi.

Gaspart is having none of it, though, and has pleaded with Pepe to admit he has done wrong.

"He still has time to apologise," the former Barcelona president told AS. "And not in this kind of 'light' manner, where he is almost saying, 'Well, [I'm sorry] if you were offended ...'

"Man! He almost breaks his hand and then asks if he has caused offence!

"Of course, he has offended - he has offended us and everyone that truly loves football."

Consequently, Gaspart believes that Pepe is doing himself no favours by maintaining his innocence and feels that even if the former Porto ace is now hit with a ban, that will not help rebuild the player's shattered reputation.

"For me, that [a possible suspension] is not the most important thing here," he argued.

"The most important thing is that a person and a player, who I do argue is a great professional, recognises that he is in the wrong and says so publicly."

Pepe is likely to come face to face with Messi again in the second leg of the quarter-final tie at Camp Nou next Wednesday.

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