Pepe given all clear


MADRID, May 31 – Doctors have given Real Madrid's Portuguese defender Pepe, who has not played since undergoing surgery in December to fix a knee injury, permission to train with the national team ahead of the World Cup.The medical team of both Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team have granted the 27-year-old a clinical discharge, the Spanish club said in a statement posted on its web site.

"The defender will progressively rejoin regular training duties with Portugal until the start of the World Cup," it said.

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz is scheduled to announce his final 23-man squad for the June 11-July 11 shortly. He included the Brazilian-born player in his preliminary squad on May 10.

The defender, who played a key part in Portugal’s qualifiers, damaged knee ligament in a fall during a league match against Valencia in December.

Portugal are in Group G with five-time world champion Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea.

The squad’s opening game is against Ivory Coast on June 15.