Jamie Vardy names Pepe the Champions League defender he fears playing

Published 4 Comments

Football News

Imagine a world where Leicester City are taking on Real Madrid.

Imagine it, because it might well happen.

The Foxes are riding high atop the Premier League table and, with 12 games remaining, only a massive collapse would prevent them the top four finish they need to qualify for next season’s Champions League.


Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article:

Claudio Ranieri’s team are the feel-good story of the season - they have shown that money isn’t the only root to success - and have Jamie Vardy to thank for much of their fortunes.

The non-league striker turned England star leads Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot having scored 19 times this season.

As incredulous as it sounds, European football beckons for Vardy and co.

And the 29-year-old is already looking forward to it after naming the one Champions League defender he fears playing against the most.

There are a host of centre-backs who would provide a stern test for the striker, including Raphael Varane, Giorgio Chiellini, Vincent Kompany, Gerard Pique and Mats Hummels.

But he didn’t name any of those.

When asked the defender he would least like to come up against, he told Betfair (as quoted by Goal): “That’s a toughy. If we got there I’d probably say I wouldn’t like to play against Pepe.

“You see some of the tackles he flies in with, not for me that.”

Before digesting Vardy’s selection, you’ve got to admire his choice of words. Despite having a 12-point cushion over fifth-placed Manchester United, the forward saying “if we got there” proves he realises there’s still work to be done to qualify for the Champions League.

Pepe v Vardy

It would certainly be an interesting battle between Vardy and Pepe. The former Fleetwood Town player has overcome the best defenders in England this season but he hasn’t faced one as tenacious as Pepe, who wouldn’t be afraid to ruffle Vardy’s feathers with some contentious tackles.

Then again, what’s to say Pepe won’t be sent off and Vardy will score a hat-trick in the Portuguese’s absence?

Title race

Leicester’s pursuit of the Premier League title continues on Saturday with a home game against strugglers Norwich. It’s a game Ranieri will be fully expecting to win and, given that the Foxes haven’t played since February 14, there is no excuse for tired legs.

That could be the deciding factor in the title race. Unlike Leicester, their nearest competitors Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City all have European commitments - although Arsenal, two points behind the table-toppers, probably have just one Champions League game left - and the ability to focus solely on one tournament should play into Leicester’s hands.

On the other hand, Ranieri’s men have never been in this situation before and could succumb to the mental pressures of a title hunt, just as Liverpool did two seasons ago.

Vardy should use the dream - or perhaps nightmare - of lining up opposite Pepe to spur him on.

Would Vardy get the better of Pepe? Let us know in the comments section below!

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

Manchester United
Leicester City
UEFA Champions League
Premier League
Real Madrid

Article Comments

Read more

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again