PORTUGAL will unleash “monster” Pepe on Uruguay – and ask him to eat up the 2014 World Cup “cannibal”.

The veteran Porto stopper will become the second oldest outfield starter in World Cup history when he replaces rib victim Danilo.

The near 50-year-old Pepe is set to start for Portugal against Uruguay


The near 50-year-old Pepe is set to start for Portugal against UruguayCredit: EPA
He will be tasked with keeping Luis Suarez quiet


He will be tasked with keeping Luis Suarez quietCredit: Getty

Pepe is 39 years and 275 days old (as of Monday), beaten only by Canada skipper Atiba Hutchinson, leading the Maple Leaf nation here in Qatar and 18 days older.

But coach Fernando Santos will turn to his squad’s long-time enforcer to neutralise the threat of former Liverpool star Luis Suarezbanned for nine matches for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in Brazil.

Santos said: “Pepe will play, 100 per cent. He is a monster, a monster. That is the only answer I can give.

“Pepe is someone with a huge role, no doubt about that. Of all the players we have, there is nobody like him. That’s for sure.

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”We still don’t understand what happened with Danilo – and didn’t even see it. But we are all so sad for him.”

Portugal’s progress in Qatar has been derailed by Cristiano Ronaldo’s public break-up with Manchester United.

Ronaldo paid for his team-mates to have a “bonding” meal at the Tatel de Doha restaurant he part-owns along with Rafa Nadal.

But Santos is now demanding his superstar starts footing the bill for the squad on the pitch.


The coach added: “Some players are more visible than others. Some are extroverts, others introverts, some shy, some more loud.

“I have known Cristiano since he was 19 years old and seen him grow into the player everybody knows he is but like with the rest of the team, I want to see more.” 

Portugal, with three points on the board after edging past Ghana, see the game as a revenge mission after being booted out of Russia 2018 by the Uruguayans at the last 16 stage.

Bernardo Silva, who said he was “happy” at the news of Pep Guardiola’s new Etihad deal, added: “The memories of that match are not good ones for us. But this time we start with three points while they have just one.

“We have changed our team more than them, although they do have Federico Valverde and Darwin Nunes now.

“Of course we have to be aware of their counter-attacking and not make any mistakes they can exploit.“

Santos, also without midfielder Otavio, agreed: “We have learned from what we didn’t do well in that game in Sochi.

“Players like Suarez and Edinson Cavani, if he plays, are four years older now, although they still have quality, a strong and technical team..

“I still feel that game in 2018 could have gone either way and that we can prove it is our turn to win this time.

“The key for us is to be more aggressive than we were against Ghana. We won but we didn’t play as well as we wanted to.

“What I have reinforced to the players is that I want them to play with freedom. They can go left, right or through the middle. 

“So on the ball I’m looking for anarchy. As long as everybody does what i tell them we need from them when Uruguay have the ball.”

You will be able to keep up with all of the match action with Sun Sport’s live blog from Portugal’s vs Uruguay.

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