The Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has come out in defence of the former Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles, who has been caught in the middle of a spitting storm in the Turkish league. The Portuguese midfielder is widely known for his spells with FC Porto, Liverpool, and Chelsea. He recently completed the £ 8 million transfer to the Turkish club Galatasaray and he has been an integral part of the first team during the first half of the season. He was recently involved in the first derby for Galatasaray against Fenerbahce. Galatasaray lost the match 2-1 and the midfielder received his marching orders for a second yellow card.
He was also accused by the referee of spitting him and showing homophobic gestures after receiving the second yellow card, which have been denied by the player. The 29-year-old has said that he is never the kind of player who is judgemental of a person. Despite this, the midfielder has been found guilty and has been banned for 11 matches. This has surprised everyone including the former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who has come in support of the player. His former colleague Fernando Torres and the former manager Andre Villas-Boas have also offered their support to the player.
“I couldn’t believe when I heard Raul had been sent off in the derby as I’ve never seen him shown a red card before. Raul is a calm, friendly person and I was shocked to hear what he was being accused of. When I called him he was really upset about the 12 match suspension and was confused as to why he received such a long ban. I can’t believe that Raul would spit and say something homophobic towards the referee,” said Reina. Meireles has so far made 64 appearances for the Portuguese national team.