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Pepe (footballer, born 1983) facts for kids

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Pepe 2018.jpg
Pepe with Portugal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Date of birth (1983-02-26) 26 February 1983 (age 41)
Place of birth Maceió, Brazil
Height 1.88 m
Playing position Centre-back
Club information
Current club Porto
Number 3
Youth career
1995–2001 Corinthians Alagoano
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2002 Marítimo B 14 (1)
2002–2004 Marítimo 63 (3)
2004–2007 Porto 64 (6)
2007–2017 Real Madrid 229 (13)
2017–2018 Beşiktaş 33 (5)
2019– Porto 117 (7)
National team
2007– Portugal 134 (8)
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 00:26, 3 December 2023 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:10, 20 June 2023 (UTC)

Kepler Laveran de Lima Ferreira ComM (born 26 February 1983), known as Pepe (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈpɛpi]), is a professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Primeira Liga club Porto, which he captains. Born in Brazil, he plays for the Portugal national team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of his generation.

During his professional career, Pepe has played for Marítimo, Porto, Real Madrid, and Beşiktaş, with most individual and team success in the middle two clubs. With Real Madrid, he has played 334 games, winning three La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions League titles and two Copa del Rey titles. He has also won four Primeira Liga titles and three Taça de Portugal titles with Porto.

Born and raised in Brazil, Pepe opted to play for the Portugal national team, and has earned 134 caps since his debut in 2007. He played at four FIFA World Cups and as many UEFA European Championships, and was part of the team that won Euro 2016, also reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2012. Pepe was man of the match in the Euro 2016 final.

Club career


Born in Maceió, Alagoas, Pepe was named Kepler Laveran by his father in honour to scientists Johannes Kepler and Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran. He started playing football with local Corinthians Alagoano. At age 18, alongside teammate Ezequias, he moved to Portugal to sign with Marítimo in Madeira, spending the vast majority of his first season with the B-team.

After being promoted to the main squad for the 2002–03 season, under Russian manager Anatoliy Byshovets, Pepe rarely missed a match, playing in several positions including defensive midfielder.

During the 2002–03 pre-season, Pepe was given permission to train with Sporting CP for two weeks, after which a deal could be negotiated for his transfer. However, neither club could agree on financial terms and the negotiations broke down, with the player returning and going on to help Marítimo finish sixth in the following campaign and qualify to the UEFA Cup, having contributed with 1 goal in 30 matches.


Pepe Porto
Pepe playing for Porto in 2006

In May 2004, shortly before the club sealed a treble of the league, cup and UEFA Champions League, Pepe signed for Porto.

In his first season, with Spanish coach Víctor Fernández at the helm, Pepe was mostly used as a backup player, playing under veterans Pedro Emanuel, Jorge Costa and utility defender Ricardo Costa. However, in the following year, under the guidance of Co Adriaanse, he had a breakthrough season, establishing himself as one of the best defenders in the domestic competition: the Dutchman often chose a 3–4–3 offensive system, with the player often pitched as the only natural stopper. Porto eventually won back-to-back leagues and the Taça de Portugal.

Real Madrid

2007–11 seasons

On 10 July 2007, Real Madrid signed Pepe to a five-year contract, paying Porto a €30 million transfer fee. On 15 March 2008, Pepe scored the only (own) goal in a 0–1 away loss against Deportivo La Coruña. Eight months later, he was involved in a fight during training with teammate Javier Balboa – the defender was nonetheless called up for Real's next match, whereas the winger was not. As Los Blancos were eventually crowned champions of La Liga, he delivered a Man of the match performance in a 1–0 win at the Camp Nou against Barcelona.

Pepe was constantly hampered by injuries throughout the 2008–09 campaign. On 21 April 2009, he was also involved in an incident with Getafe's Javier Casquero: with the score at 2–2 and only a few minutes to play, he brought down the midfielder in the penalty area, being subsequently sent off. He then kicked Casquero twice, once on his shin and once on his lower back. When being pulled away from Casquero, he also pushed his head into the turf and stamped on him several times. In the ensuing mêlée, he also struck another opposing player, Juan Ángel Albín, in the face and eventually received a ten-match ban, which effectively ended his season.

Pepe y aguero
Pepe chasing down Sergio Agüero of Atlético Madrid in 2010

In the 2009–10 season, Pepe returned to claim his place back in the starting line-ups. On 4 October 2009, he scored his first goal in the league, against Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, heading home from a Guti free-kick in a 1–2 loss. However, on 12 December, during a match at Mestalla against Valencia (3–2 win), he landed awkwardly following an aerial challenge and was stretchered off the pitch in the dying minutes of the first half. Scans later showed that he ruptured his right knee's anterior cruciate ligament. He went on to miss the rest of the season, jeopardising his 2010 FIFA World Cup chances.

For 2010–11, Pepe was joined at Real Madrid by countrymen Ricardo Carvalho and manager José Mourinho, pairing up with Carvalho to form one of the most efficient defensive pairings in La Liga. On 2 October 2010, Diario AS published an article where the player was reportedly open to leave the club on a Bosman transfer. According to the newspaper, "[W]hen he signed for Real Madrid in 2007, he sacrificed a part of his salary to pay for his huge transfer fee – this made him one of the lowest earners at the club, making €1.8 million a year." Again, he missed several matches due to injury and, after exhausting negotiations, finally signed a new contract, renewing his link to the club until 2015.

Pepe spent the final stretch of the season appearing as a defensive midfielder as Real Madrid faced Barcelona four times in less than one month. On 27 April 2011, in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg, he was sent off for a controversial challenge on Barcelona defender Dani Alves in an eventual 0–2 home loss. However, Alves also came into strong criticism, with Real Madrid claiming the Brazilian fullback had exaggerated the incident. Additionally, sportspersons including Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Rory McIlroy criticised Alves' actions. The next day, UEFA opened disciplinary cases against both clubs for a number of incidents during the match. The verdict was announced eight days later: the red card stood and Pepe therefore received a one-match ban from European competition, which he served by not playing in the 1–1 draw in the second leg at Camp Nou.

2011–17 seasons

Pepe entrenando
Pepe warming up during the 2015–16 season

On 12 July 2011, Pepe extended his contract with Real Madrid again, until the end of the 2015–16 season. In a match against Osasuna on 6 November, he scored the team's second goal in an eventual 7–1 home routing. In the first match of the Copa del Rey quarter-final against Barcelona on 18 January 2012, he stamped on the hand of Lionel Messi, who was on the ground after having been fouled. The incident drew strong criticism from the Spanish media, who also noted his coming-together with Cesc Fàbregas earlier in the 1–2 home defeat, but he insisted that the incident, which was not seen by the referee, was "unintentional". On 23 January, the Royal Spanish Football Federation cleared him of any wrongdoing.

....." Two days later, he was suspended for two matches.

In the 2011–12 season, Pepe formed a formidable centre back partnership with Sergio Ramos. That campaign, he went on to make 29 appearances in La Liga and 45 appearances in all competitions as Real Madrid claimed their 32nd league title.

On 19 August 2012, in the league opener against Valencia, Pepe collided with Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the play that led to the visitors equalising the score 1–1 (the final result). He was subsequently taken to hospital for observation, being released the following day. Amid feuds with Mourinho, Pepe lost his starting place to Raphaël Varane throughout the season and would end up getting into a scuffle with Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone from the substitutes' bench in the 2013 Copa del Rey Final.

Shahter-Reak M 2015 (19)
Pepe giving the thumbs up before a match against Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stages of the 2015–16 UEFA Champions League

In the 2013–14 season, Pepe had a personal career high number of goals scored and appearances made for Real Madrid, making 11 appearances in their La Decima winning campaign in the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League. Carlo Ancelotti, the Real Madrid manager at the time, spoke of his importance saying, "We’re more assured with him. He gives us confidence, personality and he helps the other players; he is very important for them." In the 2015–16 season, Pepe made nine appearances in the UEFA Champions League and 31 appearances in all competitions. He started the match when the team won the Champions League final against Atlético Madrid in a penalty shoot-out at San Siro, Milan.

In his last year playing for Real Madrid, Pepe had an injury-riddled season, in which he made 13 appearances, when Madrid won their 33rd La Liga and the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League, defeating Juventus in the final at Principality Stadium, Cardiff.


Turkish Süper Lig side Beşiktaş announced the signing of Pepe on a free transfer from Real Madrid, on 4 July 2017. His contract was worth €9.5 million in total over the two-years, plus a €4,000 bonus for each match played. On 13 August, he scored his first goal in a 2–0 home win against Antalyaspor.

On 19 April 2018, in the second leg of the Turkish Cup against Fenerbahçe, he received his first red card for Beşiktaş after a tackle on Souza. The match was later abandoned after the Beşiktaş coach was struck by an object thrown from the stands.

Pepe revoked his contract with Beşiktaş in a mutual agreement on 17 December 2018.

Return to Porto

Képler Laveran Lima Ferreira 01
Pepe playing for Porto in 2019.

On 8 January 2019, Pepe returned to Porto after over a decade, on a 212-year contract. A week later, he played his first game for Porto since 2007 in the 2018–19 Taça de Portugal quarter-finals, winning 2–1 away to Leixões. While his side ended the 2018–19 season as league runners-up on the final day and lost the cup final on penalties to Sporting, they won both tournaments in 2019–20.

Following Danilo Pereira's exit to Paris Saint-Germain, Pepe was appointed as club captain on 12 October 2020. The following month, he extended his contract to 2023.

On 25 October 2023, at 40 years and 241 days, Pepe became the oldest outfield player to play in the UEFA Champions League, in a 4–1 group stage victory away at Royal Antwerp, breaking the record previously held by Alessandro Costacurta for 17 years. On 7 November, in the return fixture, Pepe headed in Porto's second goal in a 2–0 victory over Royal Antwerp, becoming, at 40 years and 254 days old, the oldest ever goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League history, breaking the record previously held by Manfred Burgsmüller in 1988. On 13 December 2023 Pepe started and scored in a 5–3 Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk, setting both his records to 40 years and 289 days.

International career

Naturalisation, Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup

Pepe Euro 2012
Pepe with Portugal in 2012

Pepe never represented his native Brazil in any youth category. However, according to the player's father, in 2006, he was contacted by head coach Dunga about a possible call-up which he declined, stating that once he obtained Portuguese citizenship, he would join its national team. He became naturalised in August 2007 and, on 30 August, was named in the Portuguese squad for the first time in view of a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Poland. An injury while training for his club prevented the debut for his adopted country, which would materialise almost four months later, in Portugal's last match in the tournament against Finland on 21 November, a 0–0 home draw.

In the tournament's final stages, Pepe played in all of the national side's matches, scoring once in a 2–0 win against Turkey on 7 June 2008. Portugal was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Germany.

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, Pepe was often used as a defensive midfielder by national coach Carlos Queiroz. After his serious knee injury while playing for Real Madrid, he was eventually selected for the squad that participated in the finals in South Africa, appearing against Brazil in the group stage (0–0) and eventual champions Spain in the round of 16 (0–1 loss).

Euro 2012 and 2014 World Cup

Again a starter in Euro 2012 under manager Paulo Bento, Pepe opened the score in the second group game against Denmark, heading home after a João Moutinho corner kick in an eventual 3–2 win. He was later chosen by UEFA as man of the match and, in the semi-final, he was one of two Portugal players to score in a 2–4 penalty shootout defeat to eventual winners Spain.

In the 2014 World Cup, Pepe received a red card in the first half of Portugal's opening match against eventual champions Germany, for headbutting Thomas Müller late into the first half of an eventual 0–4 loss. At the time, Müller was sitting on the ground and Pepe walked back to Müller to headbutt him.

Euro 2016 Champion and 2017 Confederations Cup

Pepe was named man of the match in the Euro 2016 final, helping his team to keep a clean-sheet in a 1–0 extra-time victory over hosts France and win his nation's first ever international title. His performance in the final was particularly noted by Sky Sports and Football Paradise's Juuso Kilpeläinen for being firm and disciplined.

photograph of a man sucking his thumbs
Pepe celebrates after scoring a late equaliser against Mexico at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Moscow

On 2 July 2017, in the third-place match against Mexico at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, Pepe scored an injury time equaliser to send the match into extra-time. Portugal eventually won the match 2–1 to capture the bronze medal.

2018 World Cup and Euro 2020

In Portugal's opening match against Spain during the 2018 World Cup, Pepe went down after a collision with Spain forward Diego Costa, who then took the ball into the penalty area before scoring. The goal was checked by the video assistant referee (VAR), who allowed the goal to stand. In Portugal's second match, Pepe went down after he was tapped on the back by Morocco's Medhi Benatia. In the BBC studio, former footballer Rio Ferdinand called Pepe's dive "embarrassing". Former striker Didier Drogba also expressed derision for Pepe, stating "he's been doing this quite a few times". Pepe scored in Portugal's 2–1 defeat against Uruguay in the last 16.

On 6 September 2018 in a friendly match against Croatia at the Estádio do Algarve, Pepe earned his 100th cap. He captained the side and headed an equaliser from Pizzi's cross to secure a 1–1 draw.

Due to Zlatan Ibrahimović's injury, 38-year-old Pepe was the oldest outfield player at the delayed UEFA Euro 2020 finals in June 2021. On 11 November that year, he was sent off in a goalless draw away to the Republic of Ireland in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification.

2022 World Cup

In October 2022, he was named in Portugal's preliminary 55-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, being included in the final 26-man squad for the tournament. He scored Portugal's second goal in a thrashing 6–1 win in the round of 16 match against Switzerland; by doing so, at 39 years and 283 days old, he became the oldest player to score at the knock-out stage and second-oldest player to ever score in the tournament, behind Cameroonian striker Roger Milla, who was 42 years and 39 days old when he scored against Russia in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

Style of play

A quick, aggressive, physically strong, and tenacious defender, Pepe is known for his work-rate and hard-tackling style of play; due to his height, he is also an aerial threat on set-pieces. While he usually plays as a centre-back, he has also been deployed as a defensive midfielder at international level. However, despite his defensive abilities, he has also drawn criticism in the media due to his tendency to pick up cards, as he has often shown violent or unsportsmanlike behaviour, which includes diving, and violent challenges on the pitch.

Personal life

Pepe is married to Ana Sofia Moreira, whom he met in Porto in 2007. Together, they have two daughters.

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Marítimo 2001–02 Primeira Liga 4 0 0 0 4 0
2002–03 29 2 0 0 29 2
2003–04 30 1 1 0 31 1
Total 63 3 1 0 64 3
Porto 2004–05 Primeira Liga 15 1 1 0 5 0 1 0 22 1
2005–06 24 1 4 0 5 2 33 3
2006–07 25 4 0 0 8 0 1 0 34 4
Total 64 6 5 0 18 2 2 0 89 8
Real Madrid 2007–08 La Liga 19 0 1 0 3 0 2 0 25 0
2008–09 26 0 0 0 5 0 1 0 32 0
2009–10 10 1 1 0 6 0 17 1
2010–11 26 1 4 0 8 0 38 1
2011–12 29 1 5 0 9 0 2 0 45 1
2012–13 28 1 2 0 11 1 1 0 42 2
2013–14 30 4 7 1 11 0 48 5
2014–15 27 2 1 0 6 0 4 0 38 2
2015–16 21 1 1 0 9 0 31 1
2016–17 13 2 2 0 3 0 0 0 18 2
Total 229 13 24 1 71 1 10 0 334 15
Beşiktaş 2017–18 Süper Lig 23 2 5 0 6 0 1 0 35 2
2018–19 10 3 0 0 7 2 17 5
Total 33 5 5 0 13 2 1 0 52 7
Porto 2018–19 Primeira Liga 13 2 3 0 3 0 2 0 21 2
2019–20 25 1 2 0 9 0 1 0 37 1
2020–21 27 2 4 0 6 0 3 0 40 2
2021–22 21 1 3 0 9 0 0 0 33 1
2022–23 24 0 5 0 4 0 3 0 36 0
2023–24 7 1 0 0 5 2 1 0 13 3
Total 117 7 17 0 36 2 10 0 180 9
Career total 506 34 52 1 138 7 23 0 719 42


Russia-Portugal CC2017 (11)
From left to right: Cristiano Ronaldo, Rui Patrício and Pepe lining up at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Portugal 2007 1 0
2008 12 1
2009 11 1
2010 6 0
2011 7 0
2012 12 1
2013 8 0
2014 8 0
2015 3 0
2016 13 1
2017 11 1
2018 11 2
2019 5 0
2020 5 0
2021 10 0
2022 10 1
2023 1 0
Total 134 8

Scores and results list Portugal's goal tally first.

List of international goals scored by Pepe
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 7 June 2008 Stade de Genève, Geneve, Switzerland  Turkey 1–0 2–0 UEFA Euro 2008
2 9 September 2009 Stadium Puskás Ferenc, Budapest, Hungary  Hungary 1–0 1–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
3 13 June 2012 Arena Lviv, Lviv, Ukraine  Denmark 1–0 3–2 UEFA Euro 2012
4 1 September 2016 Estádio do Bessa, Porto, Portugal  Gibraltar 5–0 5–0 Friendly
5 2 July 2017 Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow, Russia  Mexico 1–1 2–1 (aet) 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup
6 30 June 2018 Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia  Uruguay 1–1 1–2 2018 FIFA World Cup
7 6 September 2018 Estádio Algarve, Faro/Loulé, Portugal  Croatia 1–1 1–1 Friendly
8 6 December 2022 Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail, Qatar  Switzerland 2–0 6–1 2022 FIFA World Cup



Real Madrid



  • UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament: 2008, 2012, 2016
  • UEFA Euro 2016 Final: Man of the Match
  • UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2013–14
  • ESM Team of the Season: 2013–14
  • CNID Best Portuguese Athlete Abroad: 2014
  • Goal's La Liga Team of the Season: 2010–11
  • Süper Lig Team of the Season: 2017–18
  • Süper Lig Defender of the Season: 2017–18
  • Primeira Liga Team of the Year: 2019–20, 2020–21, 2021–22, 2022–23
  • Primeira Liga Defender of the Month: September/October 2020, April 2023
  • Quinas de Ouro Awards – Best Portuguese Player Playing in Portugal: 2020
  • SJPF Player of the Month: April 2006


  • POR Ordem do Merito Comendador BAR.svg Commander of the Order of Merit

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Pepe (futbolista) para niños

  • List of footballers with 100 or more UEFA Champions League appearances
  • List of men's footballers with 100 or more international caps
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