ISTANBUL, Turkey, Jul 5 – Portuguese international defender Pepe on Wednesday signed for Turkish champions Besiktas of Istanbul from Real Madrid on a two-year deal.
Pepe, 34, landed in Istanbul before dawn aboard a private plane and was given a rousing welcome by hundreds of fans who had waited overnight at the airport.
He then went through a full medical and signed his two-year contract at a news conference at club headquarters.
“I had wonderful times at Real Madrid and the supporters liked me a lot. I hope at Besiktas to make the supporters proud with my work, my devotion and my love,” said Pepe.
Pepe will receive a total salary of 9.5 million euros ($10.75 million), plus performance bonuses, over the two years, Besiktas said in a statement. There was no indication of the transfer fee.
For years in the shadow of Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce and Galatsaray, the Black Eagles have won the Turkish Super Lig title for the last two seasons.
With the title, Besiktas also claim Turkey’s sole automatic Champions League spot and will hope for a drastic improvement on their group-stage exit last time round.
Few are better qualified to help Besiktas with that goal than Pepe, who helped Real Madrid win the Champions League three times in his career.
While French internationals Mathieu Valbuena and Bafetimbi Gomis have signed for Fenerbahce and Galatasaray respectively, Pepe is arguably the biggest name to arrive in Istanbul so far this summer.
Pepe spent the last decade as a key member of the star-studded Real Madrid side and helped Portugal to victory in Euro 2016, winning the man-of-the-match award in the victory in the final over France.
At Besiktas, Pepe will join forces with his Portugal teammate, the winger Ricardo Quaresma, who has played for the Istanbul side from 2015 after an earlier 2010-2012 stint and is a big favourite with fans.