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Portugal's Pepe cleared for next stage in recovery

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal received a significant World Cup boost on Sunday when doctors gave midfielder Pepe clearance to continue training with the national team.

Doctors from Portugal and his club Real Madrid agreed to give Pepe a clinical discharge, meaning he can continue his recovery from a serious knee injury with the World Cup squad.

Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz had said he was confident about the player's recovery chances for South Africa but wanted to wait until after Sunday's medical assessment before finally deciding on his place.

The coach is due to announce the 23-man final squad at a news conference on Monday. Brazil-born Pepe, who cost Real Madrid 30 million euros ($36.75 million) when he moved from Porto in 2007, played a key part in Portugal's qualifiers.

Pepe fell awkwardly while playing in La Liga in December and damaged the cruciate knee ligament in his knee. He underwent surgery and has not played since.

Portugal face a tough task in Group G at the World Cup with Brazil, North Korea and Ivory Coast.

(Reporting by Shrikesh Laxmidas; Editing by Kevin Fylan)