Luiz one of 14 stars tipped to replace Pepe

MADRID - Benfica's Brazilian defender David Luiz is one of dozens of players who have been offered to Real Madrid as a replacement for Pepe, who is sidelined with a right knee injury, Spanish media reported yesterday.

MADRID - Benfica's Brazilian defender David Luiz is one of dozens of players who have been offered to Real Madrid as a replacement for Pepe, who is sidelined with a right knee injury, Spanish media reported yesterday.

In addition to the 22-year-old, Real have been offered Turkish side Fenerbahce's Brazilian defender Andre Santos, sports daily Marca reported.

Rival sports daily AS said Luiz was one of 14 defenders tipped to replace Pepe. Among the others are 18-year-old Spaniard Sergio Canales of Racing Santander, Cleiton Xavier of Brazilian side Palmeiras and Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

Pepe, a regular in Real's starting line-up since he joined the club from Porto in 2007, underwent surgery earlier this month to repair ligament damage on his right knee and he is expected to be off the pitch for six months.

The 26-year-old Brazilian-born Portuguese international picked up the injury during Real's 3-2 away victory over Valencia on December 12 when he tumbled after jumping alongside striker David Villa to reach a high ball. - Sapa-AFP

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