Be­sik­tas sign Pepe from Real; Messi com­mits to Barcelona

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

IS­TAN­BUL:

Por­tuguese in­ter­na­tional de­fender Pepe yes­ter­day signed for Turk­ish cham­pi­ons Be­sik­tas of Is­tan­bul from Real Madrid on a two-year deal. Pepe, 34, landed in Is­tan­bul be­fore dawn aboard a pri­vate plane and was given a rous­ing wel­come by hun­dreds of fans who had waited overnight at the air­port.

He then went through a full med­i­cal and signed his two-year con­tract at a news con­fer­ence at club head­quar­ters. “I had won­der­ful times at Real Madrid and the sup­port­ers liked me a lot. I hope at Be­sik­tas to make the sup­port­ers proud with my work, my de­vo­tion and my love,” said Pepe.

Pepe will re­ceive a to­tal salary of 9.5 mil­lion eu­ros ($10.75 mil­lion), plus per­for­mance bonuses, over the two years, Be­sik­tas said in a state­ment. There was no in­di­ca­tion of the trans­fer fee. For years in the shadow of Is­tan­bul ri­vals Fener­bahce and Galat­saray, the Black Ea­gles have won the Turk­ish Su­per Lig ti­tle for the last two sea­sons. With the ti­tle, Be­sik­tas also claim Turkey’s sole au­to­matic Cham­pi­ons League spot and will hope for a dras­tic im­prove­ment on their group-stage exit last time round.

Few are bet­ter qual­i­fied to help Be­sik­tas with that goal than Pepe, who helped Real Madrid win the Cham­pi­ons League three times in his ca­reer. While French in­ter­na­tion­als Mathieu Val­buena and Bafe­timbi Gomis have signed for Fener­bahce and Galatasaray re­spec­tively, Pepe is ar­guably the big­gest name to ar­rive in Is­tan­bul so far this sum­mer. Pepe spent the last decade as a key mem­ber of the star-stud­ded Real Madrid side and helped Portugal to vic­tory in Euro 2016, winning the man-of-the-match award in the vic­tory in the fi­nal over France.

At Be­sik­tas, Pepe will join forces with his Portugal team­mate, the winger Ri­cardo Quaresma, who has played for the Is­tan­bul side from 2015 af­ter an ear­lier 2010-2012 stint and is a big favourite with fans. — AFP

IS­TAN­BUL: Por­tuguese de­fender Pepe signs his new con­tract with Be­sik­tas yes­ter­day at Voda­fone Park sta­dium in Is­tan­bul. — AFP

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