Former Real Madrid defender Pepe makes Champions League history

Former Real Madrid defender became the first outfield played aged 41 and over to participate in a UEFA Champions League match.

The defender is 41-years-old, which is the same as Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. Pepe made his debut in the Champions League at the age of 21 back in 2004 and since then he has gone onto become one of the most decorated central defenders in football.

Despite making history, Pepe was unable to keep his side in the Champions League with Porto being knocked out by the Gunners in a dramatic penalty shootout. The Portuguese side won the first-leg 1-0 at home, however the Premier League team levelled the game in the second leg, taking the match to extra time.

After a hard-fought 120 minutes at the Emirates, David Raya produced two stunning saves to eliminate Porto from the competition. Despite this, the main talking point of the game was the defensive masterclass from Pepe.

The Portuguese player was part of the back four, which nullified the Arsenal forwards in the first leg and kept a clean-sheet against one of the highest scoring teams in Europe. In the second leg, the veteran was equally as impressive and made numerous important interceptions and blocks, which took Arsenal all the way to the penalties.

Although Pepe will be disappointed with the Champions League exit, he has received plaudits from fans and pundits for his determined display, in which he showcased his strong passion and desire.

Rajan Sangha | GSFN

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