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Portugal defender Pepe becomes oldest player to play at a European Championship

LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) — Portugal defender Pepe became the oldest player to feature at a European Championship after helping his team to a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in their opening game on Tuesday.

Pepe was 41 years and 113 days old, taking the record from the previous holder, Hungary goalkeeper Gábor Király. Király was 40 years and 86 days old when he played against Belgium in the round of 16 at Euro 2016.

It came just days after Spain's Lamine Yamal became the youngest player to feature at the tournament.

The Brazil-born Pepe was 24 when he made his Portugal debut under Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari in November 2007 when he was still a Real Madrid player. He has made 138 appearances for Portugal, scoring eight goals, getting 25 yellow cards. His one red card came in Portugal’s opening game at the 2014 World Cup against Germany.

Pepe has played in 20 games at five European Championships, a record only bettered by international teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 39-year-old Ronaldo, who made his tournament debut at Euro 2004 where Portugal reached the final, on Tuesday became the first player to feature at six European Championships.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press