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Monday, November 12, 2012
ESPNsoccernet: November 14, 11:42 AM UK
Madrid deny Pepe taunted Levante

Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Real Madrid have released a statement via their official website denying that any player or staff member was involved in any unprofessional behaviour in the aftermath of Sunday's hard-fought 2-1 win at Levante.

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The club reacted on Monday afternoon after Levante defender Juanfran told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser that Pepe had provoked his team-mates by "dancing mockingly" after Alvaro Morata's late goal had won the game for Madrid. Reports in Spain suggested Levante's Sergio Ballesteros had come to blows with Pepe in the dressing-room area.

Madrid have dismissed any suggestion that Pepe, or any other member of the team, acted inappropriately.

The statement read: "Our players and technical staff showed exemplary behaviour during the game, which was played in difficult conditions for football. Our team overcame these with professionalism, dedication and sporting spirit. At the end of the game, the attitude and behaviour of the players, technical staff and travelling party were correct.

"We deny the allegations made in some media that Madrid player Pepe acted provocatively towards the home dressing room. The Madrid player always showed exemplary behaviour, just like all his team-mates. The club will keep defending sporting values and respect that should prevail in the world of sport."

Earlier on Monday, Juanfran had said that Pepe had taunted Levante's players at the final whistle.

"As soon as the game was over, for 20 metres to the tunnel to the dressing rooms, Pepe was mocking us and laughing at us," Juanfran said. "He was also dancing and throwing challenging looks at us. It was then that we criticised his attitude, asking him what type of professional he was. We told him he did not deserve to wear a (Madrid) jersey. We felt offended. We got pretty angry."

Amid contrasting stories over what had occurred, there were allegations that Ballesteros visited the medical room, where Cristiano Ronaldo was receiving attention to the head wound suffered during the game, and that he and Pepe exchanged blows.

Ballesteros told Cadena Ser on Sunday night that he had been enquiring after Ronaldo's well-being, while on Monday Juanfran also claimed that referee Muniz Fernandez asked police to intervene as a member of Madrid's club security staff had pushed several Levante players.

Muniz Fernandez has reportedly included some details of the post-match incidents in his report, without naming any individuals as deserving of punishment. Coaches Jose Mourinho and Juan Ignacio Martinez did not comment on the incidents at their press conferences after the full-time whistle.

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