Insight

Pepe and Porto: a timeline

As Porto aim to push home their 2-1 advantage against Juventus in the round of 16, the Portuguese centre-back looks back over his remarkable career – and looks ahead to the prospect of another Champions League win

When you first started in the Brazilian city of Maceió playing for SC Corinthians Alagoano, did you ever dream you would make it this far in football?

My dream was that my mum and dad could watch me on television. That dream came true. Even though they’re in Brazil I still have that dream, because I know it’s a way to be close to my mum and my loved ones. I feel blessed as their child and as a player.  

Then came your first stint at Porto – and you played alongside club great Jorge Costa.

Jorge helped me a lot because not only was he, along with Vítor Baía, considered a club legend, but he also made me realise what it means to wear the Porto shirt, what it means to be a Porto player. He was a beast, but he was our beast. He was a very important person for me because I remember that when I didn’t play, he always had encouraging words for me: don’t give up, keep working hard, make sure you’re ready when the manager does pick you.

Also, he used to have a bakery business and he made a point of bringing me bread every day, because he didn’t want me to go out so often. He wanted me to keep my focus. That was his way of looking out for me or, how should I say it… his way of protecting me and helping me to settle in at both the club and city. 

You went on to become a stalwart centre-back for Real Madrid for many years. How did you become such an important player for the team?

Defending is my passion. It was my passion to defend Real Madrid. I looked to always give my best and to always carry the club’s mystique with me. I met a lot of great people during my time at Real Madrid over the years.

Next came Beşiktaş. The fans are very passionate – did they play a part in your decision to sign for the club?

Yes, that’s what I wanted, I needed that in my career, I needed to feel that passion, that passion for football. That comes from the fans, and I wanted to leave Spain and head to Turkey to feel that passion again. I knew that going there would mean a different type of football and I loved my 18 months there, I loved living in Istanbul. The Turkish culture is wonderful, Istanbul is a city with a lot of history, the club had everything I wanted. It’s a club that I have a lot of affection for.

Against Juventus in the first leg (top); with the trophy in 2016 (above) 


Now back at Porto, you’ve come full circle. Have you got the same passion as that boy from Maceió?

No doubt, I feel that passion. I’m very grateful because football gave me everything. I thank God every day, because I enjoy what I do. I always try to give it my all, with that same enthusiasm, that passion and discipline. That’s why I always put my heart and soul into it.

As the captain and as a living icon at Porto, do you make the effort to pass on your knowledge and expertise to the younger players?

Well, there’s a sort of ethos, right? I have to pass on what Jorge taught me, you know? Because I believe that knowledge was passed on to him as well. I’m just trying to pass it on. This made me grow as a player, but also as an individual. I give my advice so that Diogo Leite and Chancel Mbemba can both grow as individuals and players.

And to bring us right up to date: what do you expect from your match against Juventus?

I expect to win. We realise it’s going to be very tough. In my opinion they’ve got the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, so we have our work cut out for us. We’re still going to give it our best shot.

What makes the Champions League so special?

We play against the best, against the champions. That alone describes what the competition is all about. It’s a competition that puts lots of responsibility on players’ shoulders, and the players know the importance of the competition for their careers. So everything falls into place, everything fits, everything is wonderful when we hear the Champions League anthem and when we have to face teams like, for example, Juventus. They are huge matches and the closer we get to the final, the stronger the teams are. I feel happy to be playing in a knockout match against Juventus. For me, it’s going to be an awesome match.

And finally, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Champions League?

Winning it. Winning it, because it’s a unique moment for us players. At club level, it’s still the peak. For my teammates here at Porto, to go to a Champions League final and then win it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s something to tell your children, and your grandchildren, that experience that you have and the joy that you feel on that day.

When you first started in the Brazilian city of Maceió playing for SC Corinthians Alagoano, did you ever dream you would make it this far in football?

My dream was that my mum and dad could watch me on television. That dream came true. Even though they’re in Brazil I still have that dream, because I know it’s a way to be close to my mum and my loved ones. I feel blessed as their child and as a player.  

Then came your first stint at Porto – and you played alongside club great Jorge Costa.

Jorge helped me a lot because not only was he, along with Vítor Baía, considered a club legend, but he also made me realise what it means to wear the Porto shirt, what it means to be a Porto player. He was a beast, but he was our beast. He was a very important person for me because I remember that when I didn’t play, he always had encouraging words for me: don’t give up, keep working hard, make sure you’re ready when the manager does pick you.

Also, he used to have a bakery business and he made a point of bringing me bread every day, because he didn’t want me to go out so often. He wanted me to keep my focus. That was his way of looking out for me or, how should I say it… his way of protecting me and helping me to settle in at both the club and city. 

You went on to become a stalwart centre-back for Real Madrid for many years. How did you become such an important player for the team?

Defending is my passion. It was my passion to defend Real Madrid. I looked to always give my best and to always carry the club’s mystique with me. I met a lot of great people during my time at Real Madrid over the years.

Next came Beşiktaş. The fans are very passionate – did they play a part in your decision to sign for the club?

Yes, that’s what I wanted, I needed that in my career, I needed to feel that passion, that passion for football. That comes from the fans, and I wanted to leave Spain and head to Turkey to feel that passion again. I knew that going there would mean a different type of football and I loved my 18 months there, I loved living in Istanbul. The Turkish culture is wonderful, Istanbul is a city with a lot of history, the club had everything I wanted. It’s a club that I have a lot of affection for.

Against Juventus in the first leg (top); with the trophy in 2016 (above) 


Now back at Porto, you’ve come full circle. Have you got the same passion as that boy from Maceió?

No doubt, I feel that passion. I’m very grateful because football gave me everything. I thank God every day, because I enjoy what I do. I always try to give it my all, with that same enthusiasm, that passion and discipline. That’s why I always put my heart and soul into it.

As the captain and as a living icon at Porto, do you make the effort to pass on your knowledge and expertise to the younger players?

Well, there’s a sort of ethos, right? I have to pass on what Jorge taught me, you know? Because I believe that knowledge was passed on to him as well. I’m just trying to pass it on. This made me grow as a player, but also as an individual. I give my advice so that Diogo Leite and Chancel Mbemba can both grow as individuals and players.

And to bring us right up to date: what do you expect from your match against Juventus?

I expect to win. We realise it’s going to be very tough. In my opinion they’ve got the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, so we have our work cut out for us. We’re still going to give it our best shot.

What makes the Champions League so special?

We play against the best, against the champions. That alone describes what the competition is all about. It’s a competition that puts lots of responsibility on players’ shoulders, and the players know the importance of the competition for their careers. So everything falls into place, everything fits, everything is wonderful when we hear the Champions League anthem and when we have to face teams like, for example, Juventus. They are huge matches and the closer we get to the final, the stronger the teams are. I feel happy to be playing in a knockout match against Juventus. For me, it’s going to be an awesome match.

And finally, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Champions League?

Winning it. Winning it, because it’s a unique moment for us players. At club level, it’s still the peak. For my teammates here at Porto, to go to a Champions League final and then win it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s something to tell your children, and your grandchildren, that experience that you have and the joy that you feel on that day.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

When you first started in the Brazilian city of Maceió playing for SC Corinthians Alagoano, did you ever dream you would make it this far in football?

My dream was that my mum and dad could watch me on television. That dream came true. Even though they’re in Brazil I still have that dream, because I know it’s a way to be close to my mum and my loved ones. I feel blessed as their child and as a player.  

Then came your first stint at Porto – and you played alongside club great Jorge Costa.

Jorge helped me a lot because not only was he, along with Vítor Baía, considered a club legend, but he also made me realise what it means to wear the Porto shirt, what it means to be a Porto player. He was a beast, but he was our beast. He was a very important person for me because I remember that when I didn’t play, he always had encouraging words for me: don’t give up, keep working hard, make sure you’re ready when the manager does pick you.

Also, he used to have a bakery business and he made a point of bringing me bread every day, because he didn’t want me to go out so often. He wanted me to keep my focus. That was his way of looking out for me or, how should I say it… his way of protecting me and helping me to settle in at both the club and city. 

You went on to become a stalwart centre-back for Real Madrid for many years. How did you become such an important player for the team?

Defending is my passion. It was my passion to defend Real Madrid. I looked to always give my best and to always carry the club’s mystique with me. I met a lot of great people during my time at Real Madrid over the years.

Next came Beşiktaş. The fans are very passionate – did they play a part in your decision to sign for the club?

Yes, that’s what I wanted, I needed that in my career, I needed to feel that passion, that passion for football. That comes from the fans, and I wanted to leave Spain and head to Turkey to feel that passion again. I knew that going there would mean a different type of football and I loved my 18 months there, I loved living in Istanbul. The Turkish culture is wonderful, Istanbul is a city with a lot of history, the club had everything I wanted. It’s a club that I have a lot of affection for.

Against Juventus in the first leg (top); with the trophy in 2016 (above) 


Now back at Porto, you’ve come full circle. Have you got the same passion as that boy from Maceió?

No doubt, I feel that passion. I’m very grateful because football gave me everything. I thank God every day, because I enjoy what I do. I always try to give it my all, with that same enthusiasm, that passion and discipline. That’s why I always put my heart and soul into it.

As the captain and as a living icon at Porto, do you make the effort to pass on your knowledge and expertise to the younger players?

Well, there’s a sort of ethos, right? I have to pass on what Jorge taught me, you know? Because I believe that knowledge was passed on to him as well. I’m just trying to pass it on. This made me grow as a player, but also as an individual. I give my advice so that Diogo Leite and Chancel Mbemba can both grow as individuals and players.

And to bring us right up to date: what do you expect from your match against Juventus?

I expect to win. We realise it’s going to be very tough. In my opinion they’ve got the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, so we have our work cut out for us. We’re still going to give it our best shot.

What makes the Champions League so special?

We play against the best, against the champions. That alone describes what the competition is all about. It’s a competition that puts lots of responsibility on players’ shoulders, and the players know the importance of the competition for their careers. So everything falls into place, everything fits, everything is wonderful when we hear the Champions League anthem and when we have to face teams like, for example, Juventus. They are huge matches and the closer we get to the final, the stronger the teams are. I feel happy to be playing in a knockout match against Juventus. For me, it’s going to be an awesome match.

And finally, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Champions League?

Winning it. Winning it, because it’s a unique moment for us players. At club level, it’s still the peak. For my teammates here at Porto, to go to a Champions League final and then win it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s something to tell your children, and your grandchildren, that experience that you have and the joy that you feel on that day.

Pepe and Porto: a timeline
Insight

Pepe and Porto: a timeline

As Porto aim to push home their 2-1 advantage against Juventus in the round of 16, the Portuguese centre-back looks back over his remarkable career – and looks ahead to the prospect of another Champions League win

When you first started in the Brazilian city of Maceió playing for SC Corinthians Alagoano, did you ever dream you would make it this far in football?

My dream was that my mum and dad could watch me on television. That dream came true. Even though they’re in Brazil I still have that dream, because I know it’s a way to be close to my mum and my loved ones. I feel blessed as their child and as a player.  

Then came your first stint at Porto – and you played alongside club great Jorge Costa.

Jorge helped me a lot because not only was he, along with Vítor Baía, considered a club legend, but he also made me realise what it means to wear the Porto shirt, what it means to be a Porto player. He was a beast, but he was our beast. He was a very important person for me because I remember that when I didn’t play, he always had encouraging words for me: don’t give up, keep working hard, make sure you’re ready when the manager does pick you.

Also, he used to have a bakery business and he made a point of bringing me bread every day, because he didn’t want me to go out so often. He wanted me to keep my focus. That was his way of looking out for me or, how should I say it… his way of protecting me and helping me to settle in at both the club and city. 

You went on to become a stalwart centre-back for Real Madrid for many years. How did you become such an important player for the team?

Defending is my passion. It was my passion to defend Real Madrid. I looked to always give my best and to always carry the club’s mystique with me. I met a lot of great people during my time at Real Madrid over the years.

Next came Beşiktaş. The fans are very passionate – did they play a part in your decision to sign for the club?

Yes, that’s what I wanted, I needed that in my career, I needed to feel that passion, that passion for football. That comes from the fans, and I wanted to leave Spain and head to Turkey to feel that passion again. I knew that going there would mean a different type of football and I loved my 18 months there, I loved living in Istanbul. The Turkish culture is wonderful, Istanbul is a city with a lot of history, the club had everything I wanted. It’s a club that I have a lot of affection for.

Against Juventus in the first leg (top); with the trophy in 2016 (above) 


Now back at Porto, you’ve come full circle. Have you got the same passion as that boy from Maceió?

No doubt, I feel that passion. I’m very grateful because football gave me everything. I thank God every day, because I enjoy what I do. I always try to give it my all, with that same enthusiasm, that passion and discipline. That’s why I always put my heart and soul into it.

As the captain and as a living icon at Porto, do you make the effort to pass on your knowledge and expertise to the younger players?

Well, there’s a sort of ethos, right? I have to pass on what Jorge taught me, you know? Because I believe that knowledge was passed on to him as well. I’m just trying to pass it on. This made me grow as a player, but also as an individual. I give my advice so that Diogo Leite and Chancel Mbemba can both grow as individuals and players.

And to bring us right up to date: what do you expect from your match against Juventus?

I expect to win. We realise it’s going to be very tough. In my opinion they’ve got the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, so we have our work cut out for us. We’re still going to give it our best shot.

What makes the Champions League so special?

We play against the best, against the champions. That alone describes what the competition is all about. It’s a competition that puts lots of responsibility on players’ shoulders, and the players know the importance of the competition for their careers. So everything falls into place, everything fits, everything is wonderful when we hear the Champions League anthem and when we have to face teams like, for example, Juventus. They are huge matches and the closer we get to the final, the stronger the teams are. I feel happy to be playing in a knockout match against Juventus. For me, it’s going to be an awesome match.

And finally, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Champions League?

Winning it. Winning it, because it’s a unique moment for us players. At club level, it’s still the peak. For my teammates here at Porto, to go to a Champions League final and then win it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s something to tell your children, and your grandchildren, that experience that you have and the joy that you feel on that day.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

When you first started in the Brazilian city of Maceió playing for SC Corinthians Alagoano, did you ever dream you would make it this far in football?

My dream was that my mum and dad could watch me on television. That dream came true. Even though they’re in Brazil I still have that dream, because I know it’s a way to be close to my mum and my loved ones. I feel blessed as their child and as a player.  

Then came your first stint at Porto – and you played alongside club great Jorge Costa.

Jorge helped me a lot because not only was he, along with Vítor Baía, considered a club legend, but he also made me realise what it means to wear the Porto shirt, what it means to be a Porto player. He was a beast, but he was our beast. He was a very important person for me because I remember that when I didn’t play, he always had encouraging words for me: don’t give up, keep working hard, make sure you’re ready when the manager does pick you.

Also, he used to have a bakery business and he made a point of bringing me bread every day, because he didn’t want me to go out so often. He wanted me to keep my focus. That was his way of looking out for me or, how should I say it… his way of protecting me and helping me to settle in at both the club and city. 

You went on to become a stalwart centre-back for Real Madrid for many years. How did you become such an important player for the team?

Defending is my passion. It was my passion to defend Real Madrid. I looked to always give my best and to always carry the club’s mystique with me. I met a lot of great people during my time at Real Madrid over the years.

Next came Beşiktaş. The fans are very passionate – did they play a part in your decision to sign for the club?

Yes, that’s what I wanted, I needed that in my career, I needed to feel that passion, that passion for football. That comes from the fans, and I wanted to leave Spain and head to Turkey to feel that passion again. I knew that going there would mean a different type of football and I loved my 18 months there, I loved living in Istanbul. The Turkish culture is wonderful, Istanbul is a city with a lot of history, the club had everything I wanted. It’s a club that I have a lot of affection for.

Against Juventus in the first leg (top); with the trophy in 2016 (above) 


Now back at Porto, you’ve come full circle. Have you got the same passion as that boy from Maceió?

No doubt, I feel that passion. I’m very grateful because football gave me everything. I thank God every day, because I enjoy what I do. I always try to give it my all, with that same enthusiasm, that passion and discipline. That’s why I always put my heart and soul into it.

As the captain and as a living icon at Porto, do you make the effort to pass on your knowledge and expertise to the younger players?

Well, there’s a sort of ethos, right? I have to pass on what Jorge taught me, you know? Because I believe that knowledge was passed on to him as well. I’m just trying to pass it on. This made me grow as a player, but also as an individual. I give my advice so that Diogo Leite and Chancel Mbemba can both grow as individuals and players.

And to bring us right up to date: what do you expect from your match against Juventus?

I expect to win. We realise it’s going to be very tough. In my opinion they’ve got the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, so we have our work cut out for us. We’re still going to give it our best shot.

What makes the Champions League so special?

We play against the best, against the champions. That alone describes what the competition is all about. It’s a competition that puts lots of responsibility on players’ shoulders, and the players know the importance of the competition for their careers. So everything falls into place, everything fits, everything is wonderful when we hear the Champions League anthem and when we have to face teams like, for example, Juventus. They are huge matches and the closer we get to the final, the stronger the teams are. I feel happy to be playing in a knockout match against Juventus. For me, it’s going to be an awesome match.

And finally, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Champions League?

Winning it. Winning it, because it’s a unique moment for us players. At club level, it’s still the peak. For my teammates here at Porto, to go to a Champions League final and then win it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s something to tell your children, and your grandchildren, that experience that you have and the joy that you feel on that day.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

When you first started in the Brazilian city of Maceió playing for SC Corinthians Alagoano, did you ever dream you would make it this far in football?

My dream was that my mum and dad could watch me on television. That dream came true. Even though they’re in Brazil I still have that dream, because I know it’s a way to be close to my mum and my loved ones. I feel blessed as their child and as a player.  

Then came your first stint at Porto – and you played alongside club great Jorge Costa.

Jorge helped me a lot because not only was he, along with Vítor Baía, considered a club legend, but he also made me realise what it means to wear the Porto shirt, what it means to be a Porto player. He was a beast, but he was our beast. He was a very important person for me because I remember that when I didn’t play, he always had encouraging words for me: don’t give up, keep working hard, make sure you’re ready when the manager does pick you.

Also, he used to have a bakery business and he made a point of bringing me bread every day, because he didn’t want me to go out so often. He wanted me to keep my focus. That was his way of looking out for me or, how should I say it… his way of protecting me and helping me to settle in at both the club and city. 

You went on to become a stalwart centre-back for Real Madrid for many years. How did you become such an important player for the team?

Defending is my passion. It was my passion to defend Real Madrid. I looked to always give my best and to always carry the club’s mystique with me. I met a lot of great people during my time at Real Madrid over the years.

Next came Beşiktaş. The fans are very passionate – did they play a part in your decision to sign for the club?

Yes, that’s what I wanted, I needed that in my career, I needed to feel that passion, that passion for football. That comes from the fans, and I wanted to leave Spain and head to Turkey to feel that passion again. I knew that going there would mean a different type of football and I loved my 18 months there, I loved living in Istanbul. The Turkish culture is wonderful, Istanbul is a city with a lot of history, the club had everything I wanted. It’s a club that I have a lot of affection for.

Against Juventus in the first leg (top); with the trophy in 2016 (above) 


Now back at Porto, you’ve come full circle. Have you got the same passion as that boy from Maceió?

No doubt, I feel that passion. I’m very grateful because football gave me everything. I thank God every day, because I enjoy what I do. I always try to give it my all, with that same enthusiasm, that passion and discipline. That’s why I always put my heart and soul into it.

As the captain and as a living icon at Porto, do you make the effort to pass on your knowledge and expertise to the younger players?

Well, there’s a sort of ethos, right? I have to pass on what Jorge taught me, you know? Because I believe that knowledge was passed on to him as well. I’m just trying to pass it on. This made me grow as a player, but also as an individual. I give my advice so that Diogo Leite and Chancel Mbemba can both grow as individuals and players.

And to bring us right up to date: what do you expect from your match against Juventus?

I expect to win. We realise it’s going to be very tough. In my opinion they’ve got the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, so we have our work cut out for us. We’re still going to give it our best shot.

What makes the Champions League so special?

We play against the best, against the champions. That alone describes what the competition is all about. It’s a competition that puts lots of responsibility on players’ shoulders, and the players know the importance of the competition for their careers. So everything falls into place, everything fits, everything is wonderful when we hear the Champions League anthem and when we have to face teams like, for example, Juventus. They are huge matches and the closer we get to the final, the stronger the teams are. I feel happy to be playing in a knockout match against Juventus. For me, it’s going to be an awesome match.

And finally, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Champions League?

Winning it. Winning it, because it’s a unique moment for us players. At club level, it’s still the peak. For my teammates here at Porto, to go to a Champions League final and then win it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s something to tell your children, and your grandchildren, that experience that you have and the joy that you feel on that day.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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