FootballSPORTS

Legendary Spain and Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas announces his retirement from football

…14 months after suffering a heart attack in training as the World Cup-winning captain calls time on his career at 39

  •  Spanish Goalkeeper Casillas has decided to retire from football at the age of 39
  •  A distinguished career saw him achieve success with Spain and Real Madrid
  •  He lifted the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain
  • Casillas won the Champions League three times during time with Real Madrid
  • He suffered a heart attack in training with Porto in May last year
  • Casillas wasn’t able to recover enough to return to first-team action this season

 

    Iker Casillas

Legendary former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas has announced his retirement from football at the age of 39.

Casillas has hung up his gloves after a stellar career that saw him win the Champions League on three occasions with Real and the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.

He suffered a heart attack during a training session with Porto in May last year but returned a couple of months later.

However, Casillas didn’t return to action during the course of the season and has now decided to finish his career.

In a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, Casillas announced his retirement in a letter and posted an emotional message.

He said: ‘The important thing is the path you travel and the people who accompany you, not the destination to which it takes you.

‘Because that with work and effort, I think I can say, without hesitation, that is has been the path and the dream destination.’

Real Madrid also paid their own tribute to a player who appeared in 725 competitive matches for them over the course of 16 seasons between 1999 and 2015.

They wrote: ‘Real Madrid CF wants to show his appreciation, admiration and love for one of the greatest legends of our club and world football.

‘The best goalkeeper in the history of Real Madrid and Spanish football came to our house when he was nine years old.

‘Here our shirt was formed and defended for 25 years, being forever one of our most iconic captains. Iker Casillas has earned the love of Real Madrid and is a benchmark of the values ​​that represent Real Madrid.

‘Today, one of the most important footballers in our 118-year history, a player whom we love and admire, a goalkeeper who has enlarged the legend of Real Madrid with his work and with exemplary behavior both inside and outside, says goodbye as a professional player.

Iker Casillas was included 5 times in the FIFA FIFPro World XI and chosen 5 times best goalkeeper in the world by the IFFHS.

‘His impressive sports career has been recognized with the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Sports Merit, the Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit and the Gold Medal of the Community of Madrid.

‘Iker Casillas belongs to the heart of Real Madrid and will be so forever. Real Madrid wants to convey to him and his family the affection of our club, which is the club of his life.’

Casillas has won pretty much every major honour in the game. At Real, he broke into the first-team in 1999 and remained No 1 until Jose Mourinho’s time in charge.

He helped the Madrid club win five LaLiga titles, two Spanish Cups, three Champions League crowns, two Intercontinental Cups and the FIFA Club World Cup.

Moving to Porto in 2015, Casillas added two Portuguese Primeira Liga titles, including the one just concluded.

A veteran of 167 appearances for Spain, he captained the side through an era of dominance that saw them lift the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup before defending their Euros crown in 2012.

Casillas intends to remain in the world of football and announced his decision to run for the presidency of the Spanish Football Federation earlier this year.

But in the meantime he has returned to the Bernabeu to serve as an advisor to president Florentino Perez.

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