Paul White, Associated Press
In this photo taken Wednesday Jan. 18, 2012, Real Madrid's Pepe from Portugal, left looks down at F.C. Barcelona's Lionel Messi from Argentina a moment before stamping on his hand as Jose Maria Callejon, centre protests to the referee after receiving a yellow card for his foul on Messi. Real Madrid's coach Jose Mourinho warned Real Madrid defender Pepe could face punishment for stamping on Messi's hand in Wednesday's 2-1 Copa del Rey loss to Barcelona. Pepe has a history of aggressive play in the "clasico" series, including a red card in last season's Champions League semifinals, and the hot-tempered Portugal defender stepped on Messi's left hand in the 68th minute of the match. Even Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney tweeted: "Pepe. What an idiot. Sometimes people wind u up."
MADRID — Spanish leader Real Madrid will be wary of a surging Athletic Bilbao as it looks to shake off another disappointing loss to Barcelona and focus on maintaining its five-point lead over the defending champions.
Bilbao, which has won three straight and is unbeaten in seven matches, is fifth in the league and in the chase for a European place, maybe even a Champions League spot, under new coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Marca newspaper reported Friday that Madrid coach Jose Mourinho will leave Pepe out of the squad for stamping on Lionel Messi's hand in Wednesday's 2-1 Copa del Rey loss to Barcelona.
Also, Barcelona travels to Malaga to close out the first half of the season.