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Pepe has earned a new contract

Pepe is in his prime

In his last year at Real Madrid, José Mourinho made an intentionally acerbic remark about Pepe "having a problem". The coach had detected that the centre-back had entered into decline and that put-down was his way of getting a reaction. Three coaches and two Champions League triumphs on, Pepe is still a first-choice in defence... Buoyed by his sturdy performances at Euro 2016, Pepe returned to Zidane's starting XI against Osasuna yesterday and looked as reliable as ever. Fair enough, he wasn't exactly tested to the limits, but he resolved all of the work he had to do with authority and crowned his display with a goal. Florentino is taking way too long, fumbling in his pockets to renew a player who, in three months' time will be able to sign the last big contract of his career with any of Europe's big-name clubs. Because Pepe would be one of the first names on the teamlist in any club.

Dwindling options to sign a replacement

The FIFA trasnfer ban has only added more pressure to the matter because Madrid can ill afford to let Pepe leave on a free. While it's true that he is entering an age where lengthy contracts are out of the question, right now the player is in a position to push his case. His performance levels, commitment and loyalty in defending the club, together with the lack of suitable substitutes on the horizon makes the issue of renewing Pepe's contract a priority. Tying Cristiano, Bale and company to new deals is obligatory for all the obvious reasons, but Zidane and madridismo will sleep much more peacefully knowing that there is a new contract drawn up for the Portuguese centre-back - on the table and signed.