Danilo has revealed that the “crazy” behaviour of Real Madrid centre-back Pepe during matches is surprising – as the Portuguese international defender is so relaxed and “zen” off the pitch.
The 33-year-old gained his hot-head reputation earlier in his career, thanks to incidents such as kicking Javi Casquero of Getafe on the head in 2009 and stamping on Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s hand in 2012. His bad behaviour wasn’t just reserved for club football either, with a headbutt on Germany’s Thomas Muller also leading to Pepe being sent off for Portugal in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup.
However, Pepe’s reputation has improved in recent months, following some composed performances in the centre of defence for both club and country. Along with fellow countryman Cristiano Ronaldo, he lifted the Champions League with Madrid two months ago and was then part of a resolute Portugal side that superbly defended their way to Euro 2016 glory.
Despite this, Brazilian right-back Danilo has told Globo Esporte of his shock at the difference between the player that “rages” his way through games and the Pepe he knows away from the football pitch.
“When I see the challenges from Pepe during a game I say to myself, ‘Pepe is crazy, the guy is sick’,” Danilo joked.
“Because, day-to-day, he’s a ‘zen’ guy. He speaks quietly, is very calm and is a good guy.
“When I see him raging in the games, I think it can’t be the same person. When he plays, he is completely different and it is great for us.
Following a €30m move from Porto last summer, Danilo endured a challenging first season at the Santiago Bernabeu and he also revealed that Pepe had been there support him through the hard times last season.
“In the day-to-day he is an exceptional guy, always with his little girls around the club. And he helped me when I came from Porto.
“He was by my side in the most difficult moments – as he had lived through something similar. He is a sensational guy.”