Seydou Keita, the former Barcelona midfielder, was involved in a furious clash with Pepe of Real Madrid before the supposed ‘friendly’ encounter between the European champions and Roma had even got underway.
Keita initially elected not to shake the hand of Pepe during the pre-game pleasantries ahead of this Intercontinental Champions Cup encounter in Dallas, before allowing his emotions to get the better of him shortly after.
As the opponents parted ways to prepare for kick-off, Keita then chose to launch a water bottle in the direction of Pepe, something which drew a wry smile from the Real Madrid man and resulted in a number of players attempting to intervene.
Pepe is later accused of having spat at Keita during the game, which Roma won 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Francesco Totti, although the incident did not appear to have been captured by the television cameras.
FOX report that this accusation was made by the match’s fourth official, so it seems somewhat bizarre that there was no action taken against Pepe - with this clearly deserving of a straight red card.
Watch: Seydou Keita and Pepe clash
The bad blood between Pepe and Keita supposedly dates back to a Clasico meeting three years ago, where the Portugal international is alleged to have used racially insulting language towards the Malian, then of Barcelona.
This was never proved, however, and Pepe did not receive sanction from the Spanish FA, and this failure to act clearly has left Keita fuming all these years on - and fairly so.
The game between Madrid and Roma, meanwhile, was settled in the second half by Totti’s solitary goal, and saw the Spanish giants surrender the Intercontinental Champions Cup they had won last year.
Next up for Madrid will be an encounter with Manchester United on Saturday, before returning to far more pressing duties as they mount a challenge to win La Liga.
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