In light of Portugal suffering a Quarter-final defeat to Morocco, we look at their most experienced defender who was also one of the oldest at the World Cup.
Take a look!
What's the story?
Pepe, who was one of the oldest players at this year's World Cup, can be considered a cult hero of at the global showpiece.
Different hairstyles and different positions may be part of how fans remember Pepe in the World Cup but his longevity and consistence is worth noting.
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Let's take a closer look at what makes Pepe a cult hero
WC Cult Hero: Pepe
The imperial central defender, who's real name is Kepler Laveran de Lima Ferreira, is someone who performed consistently in four World Cups for Portugal.
At 39, he was the oldest in Fernando Santos' squad and he still managed to be one of the more livelier players. He also scored his first World Cup goal in the Round of 16 against Switzerland.
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He became became the second oldest scorer in World Cup history in Portugal's 6-1 rout over the Swiss.
The towering header reminded fans and media of just how important Pepe has been for his adopted nation since making his debut back in 2007.
#Qatar2022 #FIFAWorldCup #PORSUI— Iris (@Iris4231) December 6, 2022
Pepe doubles Portugal's lead against Switzerland after 34 minutes.
Portugal ???? 2 - 0 ???? Switzerlandpic.twitter.com/3GBikxpxNB
Pepe will definitely be remembered for one of the more bizarre moments at this World Cup. After he missed a headed chance to equalize against Morocco, a relieved Jawad El Yamiq went on and kissed him on his head!
Was the Moroccan defender kissing Pepe's head to console him? or was he giving thanks to the veteran miscuing his effort, only Yamiq can answer that:
The best moment of the world cup for me is when this Moroccan defender kissed Pepe on his head for missing a free header in the dying minutes of additional time ????????pic.twitter.com/zWAcq6d3pB— FootballChampions (@ChampionsTV_) December 10, 2022
The tenacious defender Porto legend has a special connection with the fans, as he was spotted signing autographs for Portuguese fans after their Round of 16 win over Switzerland.
Even though he turns 40 in February next year, he still has the vim and energy of a player in their mid-20's.
As one of the senior statesman in the Portugal squad, Pepe shares a special friendship with 37-year-old teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who he also played with at Real Madrid.
With CR7 being the superstar, Pepe has always quietly worked hard in the background, stacking solid showings at the back for Portugal, and like Ronaldo, becoming almost irreplaceable in the National team squad.
Recently, in a video re-shared by 433, the duo showcased their bromance to the world with Ronaldo drawing a hilarious portrait of his long-time teammate, and fellow leader:
?? @Cristiano's drawing of Pepe ????— 433 (@433) November 21, 2022
?? @selecaoportugal pic.twitter.com/vF0neXPWqL
With the Brazilian-born Pepe well into the twilight of his career, it was surely the last time fans witnessed his chaotic energy and spirited defending on the World stage for the 2018 European Champions.
Scroll through the gallery to view snaps of Pepe during what might be his last World Cup:
Have your say on the veteran Pepe, does he deserve cult hero status?
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