Spain’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas announced his retirement on Tuesday (Aug 4), after being sidelined for more than a year with a heart problem.
Sports Village Square recalls that the legendary goalkeeper also starred for Spain at the 1999 World Youth Championship held in Nigeria.
Casillas, 39, also won the European Championship twice with his country in a trophy-laden career which included more than 700 games for Real Madrid.
“Today is both one of the most important and most difficult days of my sporting life, the time to say goodbye has arrived,” he said on Twitter.
Casillas joined Portuguese side Porto in 2015 after a tearful departure from Madrid. He suffered a heart attack in May last year.
He played 167 times for Spain, winning the 2010 World Cup and the Euros in 2008 and 2012 in a golden age for Spanish football.
He lifted five La Liga titles and the Champions League on three occasions during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“The best goalkeeper in the history of Real Madrid and Spanish football joined us at the age of 9. He was formed here and defended our shirt for 25 years, becoming one of our most emblematic captains of all time,” the club said in a statement.
“Today one of the most important footballers in our 118 years of history calls it a day as a professional player, a player we love and admire, a goalkeeper who has made the Real Madrid legacy bigger with his work and exemplary behaviour both on and off the pitch,” they added.
Former club and country team-mate Sergio Ramos was among many players to praise the veteran, nicknamed ‘The Saint’, on social media.
“Football thanks you, man. Forever a legend @IkerCasillas,” Ramos tweeted.
Vicente del Bosque, who coached Casillas at Madrid and with Spain also hailed his efforts.
“Casillas has been a hero of the national team and Spanish football,” he said.
In June, Casillas said he was ending his bid to run for the presidency of the Spanish Football Federation, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Milestones of a magnificent career
At international level
- Participated in 4 FIFA World Cups
- World champion at South Africa 2010
- Adidas Golden Glove winner in 2010
- Double European Champion (2008 and 2012)
- Bronze medallist at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Egypt 1997
- Champion at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Nigeria 1999
At club level
- 1 FIFA Club World Cup (with Real Madrid)
- 2 Intercontinental Cups (with Real Madrid)
- 3 UEFA Champions League titles (with Real Madrid)
- 2 UEFA European Super Cups (with Real Madrid)
- 7 league titles (5 with Real Madrid, 2 with Porto)
- 4 Spanish Super Cups
- 2 Copas del Rey
- 1 Taças de Portugal
- 1 Portuguese Super Cup