Pepe has laughed off Jose Mourinho's comments about Real Madrid's players being vain, while saying the “killer” chants he receives at opposition grounds are a much more serious matter.
Former Madrid coach Mourinho, now at Chelsea, raised a storm recently when he claimed that players at the Bernabeu often left the referee waiting to start games while they preened in front of the dressing-room mirror.
The centre-back told El Primer Toque that such comments made no impression on him or his teammates, while joking that Mourinho might take a look at himself in the mirror sometimes too.
“Mou must be the only human being who gets up in the morning and does not look at himself in the mirror,” Pepe said. “We do not criticise, these are things that everyone does each day. It did not affect us at all.
“It is normal we fix ourselves up to give a good image for the club we represent. We are at Real Madrid, when we go out there are cameras and all the media. I believe it is totally normal.”
Less of a laughing matter for the Portuguese defender are the “Pepe, assassin” chants which opposition fans often direct at him because of the infamous 2009 incident when he received a 10-game ban for kicking Javier Casquero while the Getafe player lay on the ground.
Pepe, 31, said his family should not have to hear such abuse directed at her son.
“It is not easy for a mother to hear a stadium call her son a killer,” he said. “I committed no crime for them to call me that. I am very clear, the people close to me know how I am. I try to improve every day to be able to play. When I do play I try to be the best to help my teammates.”
Madrid's own fans often chant “Pepe, kill him” during games at the Bernabeu, in praise of his abrasive style, but the Brazil-born Portugal international said he was actually proud of how he had cleaned up his act in recent seasons.
“I try and play as clean as possible and not commit fouls,” he added. “But in my position it is not easy to play without giving away free kicks. Sergio (Ramos) does not have as good as a record as me. I do not remember when they sent me off last.”