Pepe nearly quit football after shocking Real Madrid red card

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Let's not sugarcoat it: Pepe was notorious during his time at Real Madrid. 

In 2017, Goal looked at the most hated and controversial footballers in the world and the Portuguese ranked second (Nigel de Jong was first, largely due to his World Cup final kick on Xabi Alonso). 

The defender received five red cards for Los Blancos, but he also picked up 79 yellows.

One of his most infamous moments was his stamp on Lionel Messi's hand during El Clasico in 2012 as Jose Mourinho's side lost 2-1 to Barcelona. 

Not many La Liga strikers will have been sorry to see him go when he eventually joined Besiktas in 2017. He's now with Porto, for whom he signed in 2019. 

What particularly infuriated many supporters about Pepe was his apparent lack of remorse. When he and Sergio Ramos formed a partnership, they embraced a 'win-at-all-costs' mentality and had no hesitancy engaging in the dark arts.

It wasn't necessarily true that Pepe never regretted his actions, though. 

In 2009, the Portuguese international was sent off for arguably the most shocking of all his controversies - his kick on Getafe's Javi Casquero. 

With the scores level at 2-2 and most of his teammates pushing for the winner, Pepe pushed Casquero to the ground. Furious that he'd just conceded a penalty, he wasn't finished there. 

He then proceeded to kick Casquero on the ground twice. The second, which made contact with the midfielder's back, could have been much more serious if it had connected properly. 

As Getafe players protested, Pepe then struck Juan Albin in the face. 

It rightly earned him a 10-match ban and he made a public apology. Indeed, he was so contrite he admitted he was considering giving up football altogether. 

"I've been in football several years and it's been the worst day of my life as a player and as a person," he told Marca, per The Guardian.

"I'm devastated and very sad. I feel disappointed with myself. The only words I can find right now are to apologise to the players and their families, to the fans and to my team-mates. I didn't recognise myself at that moment. I lost control for a few minutes. I wanted to win the game so we could continue fighting for the league.

"I've seen the incident repeated and I insist I don't recognise myself... If I have the opportunity to continue playing football, I'm going to try to do things in the best way possible. But if I feel that I'm not in the right state to return to playing, I will continue with my normal life and try to do something else to support my family.

"At this point I have no desire to do anything. I've been deeply affected. I'm going to wait and see what happens with the sanction. It's been very tough for me.

"I've acted badly, but I don't think that my whole career should be judged by one action. I'm very sad and right now I have no desire to get back to playing. Nobody knows how I feel. I'm depressed and I don't have the words to describe how I feel. The biggest punishment that I could receive is what I'm feeling now."

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