The Portuguese defender- Pepe- will be drawing the curtain on his 10-season stay at the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season, with a £248,000-a-week deal reportedly in place ahead of a switch to Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune at the end of the season.
The 33-year-old arrived from Porto in 2007 for £25million and has won it all with the Spanish capital club. Pepe has 2 La Liga winners medal, 2 Champions League medals, a Uefa Super Cup, 2 Fifa Club World Cups, 2 Copas del Rey and 2 Spanish Super Cups as a testament to the role he played as part of a solid Madrid defence in the last decade.
His exit will definitely be a huge miss for Zidane, and here are 3 quality replacements the La Liga giants can land come summer.
The 22-year-old sustained an injury that ruled him out of action for almost a year, and that has seen him lose his place in Chelsea’s starting XI. While he still has a chance to regain his spot next season at the Stamford Bridge, a switch to the Bernabeu will be too much a temptation he can overcome.
His fellow France international, Varane, has already taken Pepe’s place in Zidane’s starting XI, and the 23-year-old is a long-term replacement. Zouma would be a long-term replacement for the 30-year-old Sergio Ramos if he is recruited, and a capable backup to the side’s skipper.
The French youngster already has a Premier League medal and some level of experience despite his tender years. Zouma is solid in aerial situations at both ends of the pitch and a brilliant tackler who is calm in one-on-one situations.
Playing under Zidane would definitely appeal to him no doubt, and it’s a move Madrid will benefit from if they do manage to secure it.