Real Madrid have confirmed that Pepe is sidelined with a calf injury, amid reports he is considering a big money offer from Chinese club Hebei China Fortune to join them next summer.

Pepe, 34, is out of contract at the Bernabeu in June, and there has been no progress in talks over a new deal, with Madrid reportedly only offering a one-year extension and the player and his agent Jorge Mendes holding out for two.

Amid this uncertainty, rumours in Portugal picked up by O Jogo claim that Hebei Fortune, managed by former Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini have stepped in with a €15 million-a-year salary proposal.

The Euro 2016 winner’s short term future is also unclear after Madrid confirmed via a club statement that he has a calf muscle issue which will definitely rule him out of Zinedine Zidane’s side’s first game of 2017 at home to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday evening.

“Following the tests carried out on Pepe at the Sanitas la Moraleja University Hospital, the player has been diagnosed with a grade 2 injury to the inner calf muscle of his left leg,” the statement said. “His recovery will continue to be assessed.”


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