MADRID – Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed on Wednesday his support for fellow Spaniard and FC Porto goaltender Iker Casillas, 37, who was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack during a training session with his Portuguese team earlier in the day.
“A big hug for Iker Casillas and his family, we look forward to his quick recovery and having him back to goalkeeping,” Sanchez posted to his Twitter account.
Likewise, other political leaders took advantage of the social networks to express their encouragement to the former player for Real Madrid and the Spanish national team.
People’s Party president Pablo Casado tweeted: “Be strong Iker Casillas; Come on, champion, I wish you a speedy recovery. A hug to the whole family.”
Also Ciudadanos Party president Albert Rivera posted that he was “shocked to learn this news. I hope that Iker Casillas will recover completely as soon as possible. All the encouragement for him and his family.”
Catalonian ERC lawmaker Gabriel Rufian wrote: “The champions have hearts of gold, Be strong Iker.”
The messages of support from leaders in the realms of national politics and sport for the Spanish soccer great spread across the social media following the announcement of the heart attack.
Casillas’ fellow Spanish players sent messages of support to the famed keeper who helped win the World Cup with La Roja in 2010, including Gerard Pique, Alvaro Arbeloa, David Silva, David De Gea and Kiko Casilla, among others.
Spanish players Oliver Torres (Porto) and Alberto Bueno (Boavista) visited Casillas at the CUF Porto Hospital, where he is recovering, and also sent words of encouragement via the Internet.
Several soccer clubs in Spain and abroad also expressed their support for the legendary player, including, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Espanyol, Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo, Valencia, Levante, Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, Germany’s Bayern Munich, England’s Manchester United and Manchester City.
His old club, Real Madrid, also published a note of support.
“Iker Casillas taught us during his professional career how to overcome the most incredible challenges to bring the club to new heights of glory,” it said. “Real Madrid and its fans hope to see their eternal captain again soon and send all the support in the world.”
At one time the much-loved captain of Real Madrid and Spain, Casillas was known for his almost feline agility in the penalty area. Then, however, the goalie fell out with former Madrid coach Jose Mourinho and transferred in almost ignominious silence from his former club to Porto in 2015.
Other major clubs like Liverpool and Barcelona, who both play Wednesday evening in the Champions League, sent their best wishes.
In his 16 years with Real Madrid, Casillas won the UEFA Champions League three times, La Liga five times, the Copa del Rey twice, the Spanish Super Cup four times and the FIFA Club World Cup twice.
He was just 19 when he hoisted the Champions League trophy for the first time in 2000, becoming the youngest goalkeeper to triumph in Europe’s elite club competition.
With Porto, Casillas has won the 2017-2018 Primeira Liga crown and the 2018 Portugal Super Cup.
Casillas, who turns 38 on May 20, also leads all goalkeepers with 187 Champions League appearances and has posted the highest number of clean sheets in the tournament: 59.
Capped 167 times, Casillas was part of the Spanish team that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.