Real Madrid defender Pepe was the special guest on last night's El Partidazo programme on La COPE. Speaking from the Cidade do Futebol in Oieras where the Portugal squad are preparing for their forthcoming internationals, Pepe confirmed that he will be leaving Real Madrid when his contract expires on 30 June.
Pepe admits he will be moving on
Future far from Real Madrid: "Yes, it's quite clear that I won't be continuing at Real Madrid. The past 10 years have been filled with pride. I gave the club my heart and soul. I decided that I would leave in January when I saw that talks were not going anywhere and the way I was being treated by the club wasn't ideal. That was when I started to mentally prepare myself for the realization that my time at Real Madrid was coming to an end. I have given everything for Real Madrid".
Real Madrid's offer: "They didn't offer me a one-year extension with the possibility of a second. It's Real Madrid policy, it's the rules of the club. They offered me a one-year contract. There are ways of talking and negotiating but the way Real Madrid went about it wasn't the right way to do things".
What next? "I haven't signed anything with another club. I could have, but I wantde to wait because we had important matches to play and I didn't want to destabilize the team by making some big announcement. I'm excited about starting out with another club and I will give everything I have to give".
Premier League calling Pepe?
Inter Milan or Paris Saint-Germain? "I have more offers - not just PSG and Inter. For example, I have received offers from England".
Florentino: "My relationship with him isn't bad. I don't have any problems with him or anyone else at the club. It's a period of my life which is coming to an end which I understand and accept as a professional".
Pepe, grateful for Rafa Benítez's sincerity and direct approach
Who is the best coach you have worked for? "That's a tough one! (laughs). All of them have been great coaches and I've learned a lot from each and every one. I liked Rafa Benítez's sincerity. He is a very direct person. I wasn't his first choice but he told me that I had to compete to earn a place in the team. He was always very open and clear with me".
Zidane: "I don't want to blame anyone. What he's done at Madrid is spectacular but there are some things which I don't understand. I cannot explain why I disappeared from the team in the last few games. With Zidane, we let on to him but we didn't say our goodbyes. Zidane and Madrid knew that I was leaving before I did".
Pepe regrets Getafe incident
Feisty image: "When I first arrived, what I tried to do was defend Real Madrid with tooth and nail. Being a defender at Real Madrid is not the easiest job in the world. If you lose a challenge and the other team scores, you get panned and that's why I always fought hard to defend my team and my part of the pitch. What happened in Getafe really affected me. What I did was very ugly. I always played to a high level and I hope to continue doing so".
Cracked ribs in the Atlético game: "That was when I made my final decision not to renew with Real Madrid. None of Madrid's top brass called me to see how I was and I spent three weeks trying to return to playing as quickly as I could".
Trophy collection: "I've already done the removal. My of my things are in Portugal. Madrid is a city which I like a lot and I have so many friends there. I've no idea what I'll do with my house in Madrid".
Do you feel you have been poorly treated? "I don't feel that way; Real Madrid don't mistreat people. These past 10 years have been amazing for me"
Happiest moment: "To be honest, just waking up every day and going to the training ground, reaching Valdebebas and greeting all of the employees. I have been happy in Madrid. I've always given everything for this shirt and no one can ever take away the affection and love I have received from the people".