Pepe to miss one month after ankle surgery

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Real Madrid defender Pepe is expected to miss the next month after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle on Wednesday.

The Portugal international had been battling discomfort in the ankle when it was confirmed that he would require surgery to correct the problem, leaving Real Madrid without a key member of its back line.

Pepe has started 16 of Real's 17 games in La Liga this season and his absence won't help the club close the 16-point gap that exists between itself and leaders Barcelona at the top of the league.

The club will now hope that the 29-year-old is able to return in time to face Manchester United in the first leg of Real's Champions League round of 16 clash on Feb. 13.