Pepe, the experienced Porto centre-back and former Real Madrid player, epitomises the resilience and quality it takes to stay at the top for more than a decade.

The Portuguese is like fine wine. Despite being almost 41, he continues to dazzle the world with memorable defensive performances, such as the one in last Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg against Arsenal.

The Porto defender became the oldest player in history to appear in the last 16 of Europe’s top competition, surpassing Ryan Giggs, who did so at the age of 39.

After 10 years at Real Madrid, he spent a season and a half at Besiktas. Then, at the age of 35, he joined Porto. Far from this being a retirement from his first European club, his contribution to the game did not diminish, but rather blossomed into a new phase of his career.

Pepe has shown that age is nothing more than a number when it comes to his performance on the pitch. He has six seasons under his belt, appearing in more than 35 games per campaign.

Pepe’s form is a constant surprise to all and sundry. His ability to anticipate opponents’ movements and his dominance in the air are attributes that have aged like a fine wine, improving with time.

Pepe hasn’t lost his essence and continues to be that centre-back: secure at the back, a leader more than ever at the back and taking advantage of the occasional set-piece to score goals (he has already scored three this season, two of them in the Champions League).

In conclusion, Pepe, at 41, remains an undisputed centre-back for Porto. As he defies age-related expectations, he continues to prove that the true value of a player transcends the years, leaving an indelible mark on football history.

In fact, he is expected to be at the next European Championship with Portugal, continuing to break records.

Translated by Marcos Rodríguez.

Main image: @FCPorto.

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