Portugal defender Pepe has confirmed he will be fit for Sunday’s UEFA EURO 2016 final against France and dismissed questions about his temperament, saying his track record speaks for itself.
Pepe, who has been widely criticised for his conduct on the field throughout his career, said he was demanding of himself and his ability had been recognised at the highest level.
The Real Madrid defender missed Wednesday’s semi-final win over Wales with a thigh injury and trained seperately on Friday.
But he has confirmed he would be fit for Sunday’s final, telling reporters: “I’m fine, I had the chance to train today and will be available for the coach to pick tomorrow.
Pepe was outstanding at the centre of Portugal’s defence in their first five games of the tournament, with no signs of the volatile behaviour that has marred his career.
Despite his reputation, Brazilian-born Pepe has enjoyed great success, winning two UEFA Champions Leagues and two Spanish La Liga titles with Real and two Portuguese league crowns earlier with Porto.
“I’ve been at my club, a very demanding club, for 10 years and I’ve been playing for Portugal since 2008,” he added.
“I have three European championships and two World Cups under my belt.
“I’ve been very demanding of myself. I don’t like to lose, I want to help my team. That makes me play at the highest level and to be recognised at the highest level.
“The most important thing is to always want more.
“That is what makes you win titles.”