Pepe attempts to clarify comments about Real Madrid atmosphere
Former Real Madrid defender Pepe has denied criticising the atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu, although the Besiktas player says his current team's fans are "completely different."
Pepe, 34, left Madrid in the summer after a decade with the club, and has quickly become a firm favourite at his new club, missing just one game so far in the Turkish Super Lig and especially impressing in the Champions League where they lead their Champions League group ahead of Monaco, Porto and Leipzig.
However, his reputation in the Spanish capital suffered when it was reported in September that he had said Madrid players needed to "motivate themselves" for games due to the quiet atmosphere at the Bernabeu.
"People did not understand what I wanted to say in an interview I did with UEFA," Pepe said. "In Spain they killed me for saying the Madrid fans were not good. I didn't want to say that, I wanted to say they were different, fans here experience the game in a completely different way."
Pepe then went on to further praise the supporters at Besiktas' Vodafone Arena, saying he was happy to now go to work in such an atmosphere.
"When I get home after games, and go to bed, I can still hear the noise," he said. "You have to experience it to know what it's like, and I am thankful to be here."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan