Anger – and mystery – over ex-Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas’ tweet | world news

Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas has claimed his Twitter account was hacked after posting a message saying he was gay.

The message under the World Cup-winning goalkeeper’s verified blue account reads in Spanish: “I hope I will be respected: I am gay.”

He appeared with the hashtag ‘HappySunday’, also in Spanish, and was ‘liked’ 250,000 times, creating a stir on social media.

But, dozens of homophobic comments also surfaced, which were later deleted – and replaced with another apology tweet.

The replacement tweet read, “Account hacked. Thankfully everything is in order. Apologies to all my followers. And of course, another apology to the LGBT community.”

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Casillas was one of the most successful Spanish players of all time

Partly fueled by a response from former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol, speculation mounted over the original tweet to Casillas’ more than ten million followers had, in fact, been a joke – something that was criticized by supporters of the LGBTQ+ community.

Puyol, Casillas’ international teammate, posted: “It’s time to tell them about us” and signed the message with a heart and a kiss emoji.

That tweet has since also been deleted and Puyol apologized, saying he was “totally inappropriate”.

He added, “I made a mistake. Sorry for a clumsy joke with no bad intentions. I understand that this may have hurt feelings. All my respect and support to the LGTBIQA+ community.”

Iker Casillas tweets about being gay
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Carles Puyol’s response, which provoked anger

Adelaide United left-back Josh Cavallo described the original exchanges as “beyond disrespectful”.

The Australian came out as gay last October, one of the few active male footballers to be publicly LGBTQ+.

He said it was “disappointing” to see models “making fun” of their coming out.

Reports in Spain suggest that Casillas’ first tweet may have appeared in response to rumors circulating in the media about his post-divorce relationship.

Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas (R) is kissed by his girlfriend TV journalist Sara Carbonero during the Madrid Open final tennis match in Madrid May 8, 2011. REUTERS/Juan Medina (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT TENNIS)
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Casillas was married to TV presenter Sara Carbonero

Casillas and his TV presenter wife Sara separated last year after five years of marriage.

The original tweet came a day after Spanish media reported he was in a relationship with a local actress.

Casillas is considered a legend in Spanish football having been capped 167 times for his country and making over 700 appearances for Real Madrid.

In May, Blackpool’s Jake Daniels has become the first UK male professional footballer to step out publicly as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

He retweeted Cavallo’s tweet.

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