CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Pepe: “I’m happy I was able to bring joy to madridismo”

The Real Madrid defender, who was heavily criticized on social media for his actions during the final, spoke about his side’s Champions League victory.

Pepe: “I’m happy I was able to bring joy to madridismo”
Laurence Griffiths Getty Images

The Real Madrid defender Pepe insisted that one of the secrets of Real Madrid’s Champions League success was Zinedine Zidane, who he said “understands the dressing room really well”.

“We worked well with Benítez but things didn’t turn out that great with him and Zidane gave us something different. He had confidence in us all, was with the team and had a good understanding with the dressing room. He’s brought a lot of calm, which has enabled us finish the season strongly,” the Portuguese defender said post-match in the mixed zone at the San Siro.

I’m happy that I was able to help the team and and bring joy to madridismo. They are all celebrating after winning the Undécima following a really tough match and took a lot out of us mentally and physically,” he added.

Pepe also talked about the sweltering temperatures in Milan, which he said had a big part to play in how the game unfolded: “It was really hot and we went into the game after a couple of intensive weeks preparing for the match. We started the game really strongly and Atlético didn’t have a shot on goal in the first half, but then they drew level and made it really difficult for us. We fought together and when we didn’t have the ball we gave everything for the badge and to be champions," he said

The Real defender was also heavily criticised on social media, particularly after his reaction to incidents of play-acting involving Atlético's Felipe Luis and Carrasco.