Football Player Pepe, Chinese Netizen Critics and Fans

Pepe (left) and Muller (right), arguing during the 2014 Brazil World Cup Group G match between Germany and Portugal.
Pepe (left) and Muller (right), arguing during the 2014 Brazil World Cup Group G match between Germany and Portugal.

Currently the #2 most popular microblog post on Chinese social network Sina Weibo…

From Sina Weibo:

Asaikana: To the many little buddies who have only started watching football with this World Cup, allow me to introduce Pepe.

This microblog post was likely inspired by Pepe receiving a red card for his behavior with Germany’s Thomas Muller in last night’s Brazil World Cup Group G match between Germany and Portugal:

Pepes hand hitting Muller's face.

Pepe headbutting Muller.

Pepe getting the red card.

Comments from Sina Weibo:


I would be doing my ID wrong if I didn’t forward/reshare this.


Pepe getting a red card and not hitting the referee is already “true love” [good enough, well-behaved].


When Pepe got a red card, I just knew there was going to be [people] bringing up the past, and erasing [ignoring] the clean and outstanding performance he at least had this season. [呵呵][呵呵]


The microblogger who posted this microblog post, may I ask you just how many football matches you’ve seen in total? It’s the World Cup so you think you can come out and pretend to be some expert football fan? Pepe is sometimes hot-headed, but just how many professional players are completely clean and have never committed a foul or misconduct? Can several actions demonstrate whether or not Pepe is an outstanding defender? Can someone who doesn’t understand football not go and mislead people who love this sport? And you’re even a verified account, can you have some professionalism please? Thank you.


The world owes Pepe a gold belt.


That’s all when he was bald, but after having hair, he’s actually been much better. Unfortunately, his past image has made a deep impression on people’s hearts. One detail I’m not sure if I saw wrong: during the first penalty kick, Pepe walked over and wanted to say something to the referee, only for the referring to just push him aside.


His actions are simply dirty, and yet there are this many Real Madrid fans saying Pepe is just real and unpretentious? Bullshit, so when the Chinese team injures someone with a kick, how come I don’t see everyone clapping their hands and cheering it on?? So when we play against Japan, should we send a Shaolin [monk] team to go cripple some of them?? Thomas Muller indeed did not have to fall down, but Pepe also indeed poked Muller’s face. Anyone who watches football knows as long as it is a player who is poked, they’ll fall down, or do you expect them to put on a performance of being very strong [unhurt]?


This misleading of public opinion is truly disgusting. At least when I first started watching football, immediately covering of one’s face and falling on the ground calling for the referee after any physical contact was not something that happened! I too am giving new football fans who have just started watching an introduction [to football (soccer)].


Cristiano Ronaldo looks a bit like an academic tyrant sitting among academic dregs trying to find someone to compare answers to but being unable to…


Such good martial arts, but unfortunately entered the wrong profession.

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

  • Joey

    Zidane, Nigel de Jong, Pepe… Great warriors on the pitch.

  • Zappa Frank

    for me red was a bit too much..

    • Boris

      I can understand why the red was given. The little headbutt, something like that is automatically a red. The dive and acting by Muller (i think it was) over the top.

      • mr.wiener

        True. It’s what I intensely dislike about football. Fantastic and skilled athletes, but they are rewarded for acting like sissies.

        • Boris

          Blame the South Americans, the Spanish, the Germans and the Italians for that! :P

          • madfor3

            So basically you are blaming all the top football teams. Remove them and what’s left? :)

          • Zappa Frank

            premier league, in fact he is english :D

          • Boris

            Remove them and there are no cheaters :P

        • DavidisDawei

          HaHa – the ref should tell these actors (or WWF wannabees) to pick their arse up off the ground.
          I remember the first time I played in a rugby game as a wee lad. I went to make a tackle and was rewarded with a punch to the face (but I held on)

          • goebbels

            In fact according to the regulation what Mueller did was exactly the same as PePe did.. there was no aggression just gross demonstrations of anti-fairplay which according to the regulation are both punishable with red card.
            Too bad the referee was playing on the German side..

      • Zappa Frank

        it was 36′ or something, it heavely affected the whole match. Muller seemed on the verge of death till the headbutt, than he rise up like Lazzaro..

        • Germandude

          Hu-uhm, Zappa. No offense, but one of Mueller’s idols was “Pipo” Inzaghi.

          Also, eventhough I dislike the acting, most of the acts are done to get attention that there was a foul, not how bad the foul actually was.

          The red card for Pepe was deserved since the gesture of a headbutt is enough to justify it.
          Mueller already got contacted by some Hollywod film makers for leading roles due to his great performance. Catch 2 flies with 1 slap…

          • Boris

            “Also, eventhough I dislike the acting, most of the acts are done to get attention that there was a foul, not how bad the foul actually was.” – True to an extent. I do dislike the overacting. Muller overacted and when he was headbutted (which didn’t look too hard mind you) he got up quicker than he went down.

          • Germandude

            That’s exactly what I mean. He wasn’t really hurt prior to going down. Nevertheless, Pepe’s arm & hand shouldn’t go the way they were in the sprint before. Mueller got hit (well, softly of course) and he uses the chance to go down.
            Players are professionals, Mueller knows Pepe is an emotional idiot and he takes the chance to show the referee that it was a foul. Ref calls for foul and Pepe, stupid as he is, gestures a headbutt. He is supposed to be a professional as well and should know that that act is enough to justify a red card.

            Mueller jumping up and playing the angry guy is a perfect act as well. He should have jumped up dancing Gangnam style to show to Pepe “got ya, idiot”.

            I lol’d when I saw it.

          • Boris

            I don’t think the arm/hands was intentional. Pepe is a known hot head and I’m sure Germany planned to exploit that. Pepe was stupid. I’m not sure I would given a foul for that as it seemed very soft, but I have the luxury of watching it on TV.

            I would say that Pepe let the team and nation down as Portugal were already 1-0 and then he made it easier for them.

            Portugal aren’t a good side. Take Ronaldo out (who just came back from injury and didn’t seem to have that swagger about him that he would have if he wasn’t afraid of getting hurt) and they are average. They have decent midfielders but no good strikers (they make England look like they have a wealth of strikers) and their defenders and GK are a lot to be desired.

          • Germandude

            It was 2-0 at time of the red card.

            And if you watch the scene again, you can see that Pepe’s arms are swinging to the sides to “grab” anyone behind him. Not bad intended as defenders often do that to check out where the strikers are position in their backs and to force them to circle around them.

            Nothing really wrong with that.

            However, being a professional and earning millions of EUR with that profession should make you aware that you are risking a penalty of hitting an opponent, no matter the force.

            I think Portugal is better than you think, certainly a very unconfortable team to play against. And screw Ronaldo…what a jerk.

          • Boris

            Yes it was 2-0, my mistake. The second goal and the red card were a few minutes apart and I’ve not been getting much sleep before the world cup and even less now due to it. So I blame it on the lack of sleep and not the faulty memory that I have….

            About Pepe and Muller’s coming together.


            Seems to state that it wasn’t a foul. But the headbutt is rightly a red card.

            I kinda agree. I do think Muller went down very easy.

            And Ronaldo isn’t any more of a jerk than Messi (and may be less so – read about charity match snubs and making Barca youth players cry) but there seems to be a media protrayal as one being selfish and self centered while the other is not. The truth is blured there.

          • Germandude

            No worries, I wasn’t nit-picking.
            Replay wasn’t clear enough to me for showing how hard the hit in the face was. I tend to say “Not hard enough for drama”.

            I prefer Messi over Ronaldo simply for the reasons that Messi plays better than Ronaldo and because Ronaldo is more a media product than Messi.

          • Boris

            I would say Messi is above Ronaldo but only just. While Messi is more naturally talented, his media persona made him something like the opposite of Ronaldo (the latter is seen as selfish, greedy and people think he is in it for personal goals more than the team). I think in reality they may be more alike than made out in the press.

            I like them both and think that if you take one away, the other won’t reach the heights that they have.

          • goebbels

            You mean after the dubious penalty?
            That one much much lesser obvious than the penalty the biased referee forgave Germany?
            Not to mention the yellow card forgiven to Mueller for his master class in acting attempting to get another player expelled?
            Face it German team plays dirty and the referee somehow was on their side.

          • fabulous

            How many times did Sterling keep his feet when all around him were losing theirs?
            That’s what people want to see.
            Your fans and the commentators will be happy if you fall like the last leaf of Autumn, but wouldn’t it be nice to have worldwide respect?

          • goebbels

            This is football you moron, not ballet or drama!

            You call Pepe an emotional idiot because he touched his head on that dirty German cheater who kept grabbing Pepe during the corner kicks and then still rolls over on the floor like a dog when touched by Pepe’s arm??

            Every time 2 players run side by side to reach the ball they will bump into each other, why don’t you face the facts and must always believe Germans don’t fukc up badly?

            That well trained dog Mueller deserved at the very least a yellow card for pretending an aggression and trying to get Pepe expelled! Go and read the rules!

            And allow me to refresh you selective memory, the referee had already granted a dubious penalty to the German national drama team while later forgiving them a much more obvious penalty!

            In fact German players kept obstructing Portuguese without ever getting admonished but the reverse always left to that idiot German bought referee to cry foul!

            Be a little man and accept German team, specially Mueller, was damn dirty and only God knows which would be the result had the referee not been playing on the German side!

            An biased moron who ignores such obvious facts like you can only be considered an emotional idiot!

          • Zappa Frank

            Pippo Inzaghi is well known for his diving skills.. and disliked among footballs fans, even Ac Milan fans do not like him so much.. Pippo Inzaghi is what i dislike most in football

          • madfor3

            Anyway he is now the coach of AC Milan…

          • Zappa Frank

            yes i know…i wonder if he will teach his diving skills..

  • Insomnicide

    He’s the right man…for the wrong job.

  • YourSupremeCommander

    What language do you think they used for that argument?

    • lacompacida

      Putonghua, the universal language, of course.

  • bujiebuke

    That celebratory horse kick made me curl up in defence

  • lacompacida

    China is just emulating Pepe, but since China can’t get into the world cup, China had to do it in diplomacy.

  • He is the best I don’t know why people are so hard on him.

  • bang2tang

    kungfu soccer

    • Barack Obama

      *shaolin soccer

  • mr.wiener

    …A gentleman’s game played by thugs.

  • Boris

    So win things domestically and in your corner of the continent but nothing worldwide?

  • Wololoo

    If Pepe wouldn’t have been so stupid to give a head butt, no one would ever mentioned the dive of Müller. Of course it was overdramatic, but it was a clear foul, cause he got hit in the face and on the chest.

    Football is about millions of Euros, and this is why I cannot understand how people still risk conducting fouls that have such a high influence on the game (same for tshirt pulling near the goal, which inevitable leads to penalty kicks).

  • fabulous

    Pepe, St Kilda needs you!

  • pink panda

    Haha, even I know nothing about football, I still get it.

  • Stupid sport. There are better competitions going on with real sportsmanship and vigour. South Africa downed Wales as did Australia with Les Bleux

  • Kai

    Does he look down and THEN step on the other guy’s hand?

    • Markus Peg

      Yes he did, and, that other player he stood on is 梅西
      Dirty players (regardless of how skilled they are) are scum and should be sent off.
      I don’t know why they cannot use the camera evidence to highlight foul play in the interest of a fair and cleaner game. They do in other sports, an extra umpire will be watching the camera screens to help the referee in the game, why not in fifa?….

  • BillBo

    I had no idea the Chinese even cared about soccer. What is the big sport there anyway? Is there one? I never really thought of asians as much of a sports type people (in the western, stadium-packing type of way) although I know baseball has a good following in Japan.

    • Markus Peg

      Pretty much the whole world watches and cares about the fifa world cup…
      USA is one of the few that don’t seem to be interested (I assume you are from the US).
      In China popular sports to play/watch are: Basketball, Badminton, ping pong and tennis is getting popular due to Li Na. However, most Chinese males do enjoy watching football, they mostly watch EU country leagues such as Italy, Germany and England. Baseball has a good following in Japan and south Korea but not cared about much in China.

      • IsurvivedChina

        I agree that the whole world watches FIFA world cup but to respond to your comment about the football in the USA, and I mean no disrespect here, the USA is a huge (football) nation. They’ve hosted the world cup and they sit at number 13 on the FIFA rankings. I don’t think the ignoramus bilbo realises what he’s saying! A quick look at his profile suggests he may be nothing more then a redneck troll, but I could be wrong! To add to his question about about what sports to Asians watch I would say Rugby Union is also huge in Japan and Hong Kong hosts the Rugby sevens!

  • Markus Peg
  • FYIADragoon

    That pussy deserved the headbutt. Rough night for Portugal though. Over before the 1st half ended.

  • Boris

    Don’t need to take my comment so seriously man. I am European myself. He was trolling, you were replying to the troll, I dislike Pepe so I made my comment. Him, Sergio Busquets, Barton and a few others. Dislike them.

  • Surfeit

    Vote for Pepe!

  • James

    love the gifs!