After playing over 700 games for Real Madrid during a stellar stint in Spain’s La Liga, Casillas had joined FC Porto in 2015. But the legendary ‘keeper suffered a heart attack in May last year and was on the sidelines since then.
The 39-year-old, one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, announced on social media on Tuesday that he has decided to retire as a professional football player.
“Today is both one of the most important and most difficult days of my sporting life, the time to say goodbye has arrived,” he wrote on Twitter.
Casillas has a phenomenal record in both club and international football. He played 167 games for Spain in what was a golden phase for the national team. He was the captain of the 2010 Fifa World Cup and 2008 Euro-winning Spanish sides.
His record with Real Madrid is just as impressive, if not better. He spent 25 years with the Los Blancos and won five La Liga and three Champions League titles 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,” Real Madrid said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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.”
Here’s a look at some of Casillas’s incredible achievements:
Casillas will always be remembered by fans for the jaw-dropping saves he made over the years. The Spaniard was known for his phenomenal reflexes and his ability to remain calm on the biggest stages. He was brilliant at anticipating attacks, had wonderful hands, and his quick footwork and athleticism while blocking multiple shots from close range is the stuff of legend.
Watch some of Iker Casillas’s best saves for Real Madrid and Spain: