Pepe injury blow leaves Madrid with defensive headache

Reuters , Saturday 8 Apr 2017

Real Madrid's Pepe reacts during the match. (Reuters)

Real Madrid defender Pepe has broken two ribs after colliding with team mate Toni Kroos during the 1-1 derby draw with Atletico Madrid on Saturday, the La Liga leaders said in a statement.

The Portuguese centre back scored the opening goal for Madrid but was replaced by Nacho Fernandez in the 67th minute after the incident.

Madrid said that Pepe "has been diagnosed with fractures in the seventh and eighth ribs on the left side".

Spanish media reports said Pepe will miss around a month, ruling him out of their Champions League quarter-final clashes with Bayern Munich and the Clasico against Barcelona on April 23.

Pepe, 34, joins French defender Raphael Varane on the sidelines, leaving reserve Nacho as a partner for Sergio Ramos at the back.

Antoine Griezmann’s late equaliser for Atletico stopped Madrid from extending their lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga to five points, instead moving them three clear of the Catalans.

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