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The 65-year-old Spaniard feels the current climate in Catalunya is akin to that of 2002 when the Portuguese winger had numerous objects thrown at him - including a pig's head

Former Barcelona coach Carles Rexach believes Real Madrid defender Pepe should sit out Wednesday night's Clasico unless he wants to receive a reception as hostile as that dished out to Luis Figo when he returned to Camp Nou a decade ago.

Pepe is currently public enemy No.1 in Catalunya for his stamp on Lionel Messi during Barca's 2-1 win in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final at the Santiago Bernabeu last week.

The Portugal international is expected to be left out of Madrid's starting line-up for Wednesday night's return fixture.

According to Rexach, that is the right call, given that he sees parallels with Figo's infamous return to Camp Nou in 2002 when, two years after his defection to los Blancos, the former Barca favourite was subjected to a torrent of abuse from the stands as well as having numerous missiles thrown at him - including a pig's head.

The referee was ultimately forced to suspend play for 12 minutes and Rexach would like to avoid a repeat of those ugly scenes.

"Unless he wants to experience another episode like Figo, it would be better if he didn't come," the former Spain international told El Mundo Deportivo.

There have been rumours of player unrest within the Madrid squad of late, while the fans also appear to be split over the leadership of coach Jose Mourinho, who was whistled by some sections of the Bernabeu faithful during last weekend's win over Athletic Bilbao.

Rexach is not exactly sure what the problem is but he believes that the noises coming out of the Spanish capital are not good.

"When the people jeer, it's for a reason, because they are unhappy about something," he reasoned.

"It could be the circumstances: the way they play football; what he [Mourinho] is like - it's hard to say."

Barcelona take a 2-1 lead into the second leg, having responded with second-half goals from Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal to cancel out Cristiano Ronaldo's early strike.


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