Real Madrid have decided to drop controversial defender Pepe for two weeks, sports daily Marca reported Friday.
Pepe has received harsh criticism for treading on the hand of Barcelona's Lionel Messi while the FIFA World Player was on the ground after being fouled in Wednesday's 2-1 defeat for Real at home to Barcelona in the Spanish cup quarter-finals, DPA reported.
Pepe, 28, said Thursday the incident was accidental, adding: "It would never enter my head to deliberately hurt a fellow professional."
However, television pictures seem to contradict Pepe's version and, according to Marca, Real have decided that Pepe should be given a two-week "holiday" until the storm blows over.
This would mean the Portugal defender missing the upcoming league games at home to Athletic Bilbao and Zaragoza, and the second leg of the cup tie away to Barcelona.