Portuguese internationals Pepe and Ronaldo will face each other for the first time in the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe were teammates for eight years at Real Madrid, where they created a strong bond. In fact, the Portuguese players had even trained together at Sporting back in 2003 where they first met. Moreover, the pair have played together in Portugal’s national team for their whole careers.
Back in 2008, Pepe was also one of the biggest supporters of Ronaldo’s transfer from Manchester to Madrid. “I’d rather have him as a teammate than as an opponent,” said the defender.
However, Pepe will now have to face Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time in his career. The veteran defender is Porto’s captain, the team tasked with the tough challenge of beating a very strong Juventus side. Although he’d rather play alongside Cristiano, Pepe is eager to face his friend on the pitch.
“Juventus are a team who can count on some great players, including the best in the world Cristiano Ronaldo, so it won’t be easy. It’ll be special to face him, as I’ve never actually played against Ronaldo throughout my career. I trained against him many times, though,” he confessed.
It’s Porto against Juventus more than Pepe vs Ronaldo, though, and I hope we can beat Juve for the first time.”
Porto kept five out of six clean sheets in the UCL’s group stage.
The Portuguese champions displayed some impressive defensive performances in the Champions League this season. In fact, Porto only suffered any goals against Manchester City in the first round of the group stage.
“It’s a very good statistic and thanks to the hard work of everyone in the collective team. Keeping a clean sheet takes you a step closer to victory and Juventus doesn’t often end games without finding the net.
“Therefore, if we can score and not concede, we could bring home the victory. That is our duty.”