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Real Madrid's Pepe: I apologise to Messi

Real Madrid defender Pepe has apologised for his apparent stamp on Barcelona star Lionel Messi. The Portugal international insisted the act, which was missed at the time by the referee, was "unintentional".

In a statement on the club's website, Pepe said: "I wish to say yesterday's incident with Leo Messi was unintentional, but I nevertheless want to apologise to him if he was offended because all I do is defend my team and this institution.

"I give my heart and soul, and the thought of hurting a colleague has never entered my mind."

The usually pro-Madrid newspaper Marca pulled few punches in its reaction to the incident.

After the match, coach Jose Mourinho said Pepe had played well for the team, but warned he would be punished if it was found he had deliberately stamped on Messi.

"I haven't seen it, but obviously if it is deliberate he will be punished," Mourinho said.

"What I can say is that he did a great job for the team."

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