Ronaldo and Pepe: Two Decades of Enduring Friendship

To reach the final match at EURO, members of a team need to have a closer relationship than simple team spirit. For Portugal, they are lucky to have the beautiful friendship between Ronaldo and Pepe.

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Since the first time they met 19 years ago, besides hundreds of matches and dozens of titles, they have always stood side by side like a shadow to overcome their own limits.

Nomads meet

The first time CR7 met Pepe took place in the summer of 2002. Young Ronaldo, just 18 years old and promoted to Sporting’s first team for the first time, started a conversation with a tall and strange guy who had just come to the club for a trial. That’s Pepe.

“I’m sorry for not being able to play alongside you as I wanted, but I will try harder and be stronger. We will definitely be together in the future,” Pepe promised Ronaldo.

But before playing on the same team, they were opponents in the Portuguese National Championship. Ronaldo won both matches and joined MU the following summer. Pepe was temporarily left behind by his friend but eventually reached his dream destination before CR7.

Joining Real in the summer of 2007 for a transfer fee of 30 million euros, Pepe became more and more excited with the news that the White Vultures were actively recruiting Ronaldo. But before working side by side at Real, they became comrades on the Portuguese national team.

Ronaldo and Pepe were teammates at Sporting during Pepe’s 2-week trial.

Ronaldo and Pepe’s peak came in the summer of 2016. Having won the Champions League with Real, they joined the national team with the ambition of winning the top position.

“How can Portugal win the World Cup and EURO?” Sir Alex once sarcastically said to Carlos Queiroz when he insisted on quitting his job as an assistant at MU to coach the Portuguese national team. Sir Alex may have been right in 2008, but Ronaldo and Pepe proved anything is possible.

In France 5 years ago, Ronaldo was Portugal’s most prominent star on the journey to the final. But in the final match, when CR7 was destroyed and had to leave the field early in the middle of the first half, Pepe perfectly replaced him as a leader.

He played firmly, calmly resolving all attacks from the French team to take the match into extra time, where Eder suddenly shined with a shot from outside the penalty area. The Best Player of the Final award is the clearest proof of Pepe’s influence.

Having won countless trophies together and overcome many difficult times, it is easy to understand why Ronaldo is always generous with his best friend Pepe. In 2019, CR7 ceded to Pepe an 8-hectare mansion, including a helicopter pad and a wharf for yachts to dock.

Pepe “only” had to pay 2.5 million euros for this property. It was a very good price because just a few years ago, Ronaldo spent 4 million euros. Ronaldo’s pet cat was also named Pepe, a clear testament to their friendship!

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