Real derby hero Pepe suffers broken ribs


Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid face a defensive crisis ahead of huge clashes against Bayern Munich and Barcelona after Pepe suffered a double rib fracture in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid.

Pepe opened the scoring with a towering header seven minutes into the second half but then had to be replaced after clashing with teammate Toni Kroos.

“He has been diagnosed with a fracture in the seventh and eighth left ribs,” Madrid said in a statement.

The Portuguese defender is expected to be sidelined for up to a month.

Madrid are already set to miss central defender Raphael Varane for the rest of the month due to a hamstring injury.

The European champions face Bayern in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.

Bayern then travel to the Spanish capital for the second leg on April 18 before Real host Barca in a potential La Liga title decider on April 23.

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