Spain’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas announced his retirement on Tuesday, after being sidelined for more than a year with a heart problem.
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 but suffered a heart attack in May last year.
He played 167 times for the national team, winning trophies in 2008, 2010, 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.
In June he said he was ending his bid to run for the presidency of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Following Iker Casillas’ announcement about his retirement from professional football, Real Madrid C. F. issued a statement showing its recognition, admiration and affection “for one of the biggest legends of our club and of world football.”
“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,” the club said.
“Iker Casillas belongs at the heart of Real Madrid and will do so forever. Real Madrid would like to convey to him and his family the love of our club, which is the club of his life,” Real Madrid said.