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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 24, 2009

Real's Ramos defends Pepe over Casquero kick

Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos has defended Pepe in the wake of the defender's nightmare against Getafe on Tuesday.

Pepe was shown a red card and had to be escorted off the pitch by team-mate Iker Casillas after twice aiming kicks at the prone Javi Casquero, who he had just pushed over to concede an 87th-minute spot-kick. He also struck Juan Albin in the face.

Pepe immediately went public following the game to apologise for his actions but the Portugal defender is still facing a big ban, with Spanish media suggesting he could be ruled out for the final six games of the season while Getafe president Angel Torres has called for a 10-match suspension.

However, Ramos insists his player meant no harm.

"Pepe knows that his action was serious and it will not happen again," he told Spanish sports daily AS. "We were playing for the league, there was the injustice of a previous penalty we were not given then they were given the penalty and he was sent off. He lost control and went into a momentary craziness which triggered the incident.

"But Pepe has a heart of gold and is incapable of hurting a fly. He himself asked us to go in front of the press to apologise. he told us that he didn't know what had come over him and that he had gone crazy.

"I don't want to judge what people have said but I would say the boy lost his nerves. His regret was spontaneous and the fact that he apologised tells you everything.

"Moreover, if he had wanted to hurt Casquero, he would have hurt him. Pepe released all of his anger and made a mistake, but he never wanted to hurt him."

Casquero missed the chance to make it 3-2 for Getafe as his poor spot-kick was saved by Casillas and Madrid remarkably won the match in stoppage-time to leave them six points behind Primera Division leaders Barcelona with six games left to play.

One of those sees the two Spanish giants clash at the Bernabeu in just over a week's time and Ramos knows they need to win that match if they are to have any hope of clinging onto their league crown.

"That game will see the league decided," he continued. "In a good way or bad.

"What's good is that the calendar favours us, because Barca will have a lot of work with Chelsea (in the Champions League semi-final) and the Copa del Rey final.

"I would also say that the six point advantage they have makes me jealous. If only we were in their position!

"If we win here and by a better score than they did when we played each other last then we will really have a chance of winning the league. But if we only win narrowly then it is as if we have only picked up a point more."

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