Portugal defender Pepe faces the possibility of a three-match ban for violent conduct after being sent off in the first half of Monday’s World Cup Group G game against Germany.
Pepe, who has a long history of losing his cool and lashing out at opponents, leant into Germany striker Thomas Mueller with his head, making contact and applying pressure in a needless altercation that could bring him a stiff punishment.
The Brazil-born centre back had caught Mueller in the face in an innocuous-looking challenge but took umbrage as Mueller went down, returning to the forward and thrusting his forehead against the German’s.
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Serbian referee Milorad Mazic had no hesitation in dismissing Pepe in the 37th minute.
A red card brings a mandatory one-game ban at the World Cup but that is usually extended in the case of a sending-off for violent play.
Pepe’s latest episode of violent conduct follows a series of similar incidents in recent years playing for his club Real Madrid, including one in a La Liga match against Getafe in April 2009 which earned him a 10-game ban.
With the scores level at 2-2 and three minutes left in the clash at the Bernabeu, Pepe pushed Getafe’s Francisco Casquero and the referee awarded a penalty.
Pepe then kicked Casquero on the ground and a second swipe saw him rake his studs over the midfielder’s back. In the ensuing melee he struck another Getafe player, Juan Albin, in the face.
He was shown a straight red card, having already picked up a yellow earlier in the match.
He was red-carded in a bad-tempered Champions League semi-final against Barcelona in 2011 for a studs-up lunge on Barca full back Dani Alves and earned wide condemnation for stamping on Lionel Messi’s hand in another Real-Barca game in 2012.