Football: Real defender Pepe has thigh injury – club

PepeReal Madrid defender Pepe has a thigh muscle injury, the Spanish club said Saturday, raising doubts that he will be fit enough in time for his team’s first game of the season in two weeks.

The 32-year-old Portuguese international underwent tests after he was substituted just 15 minutes into Real’s 1-0 loss against Bayern Munich in a friendly on Wednesday due to an apparent thigh muscle problem.

“A medical examination on the player in the Universitario Sanitas La Moraleja hospital has shown that he has a muscle injury in his right leg. His progress will be closely monitored,” Real said in a statement.

The club did not specify the expected time Pepe will be on the sidelines but sports daily Marca said it is unlikely he will be available for the start of Real’s Liga campaign at newly-promoted Sporting Gijon on August 23.

Real were already missing Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema for the pre-season match away to Bayern due to injuries.

Ronaldo is expected to recover from back pain in time for the start of the season but a right thigh injury has also left Benzema in doubt for the club’s Spanish league opener.

Asked after the match against Bayern if Benzema would be fit for the kick-off, Real coach Rafa Benitez said: “I don’t know. We will see how he recovers.”

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