Iker Casillas says his Twitter account was hacked when it announced he was ‘gay’
Soccer legend Iker Casillas, one of the greatest goalkeepers in the sport’s history, says his Twitter account was hacked when it published a post announcing he was gay.
«Cuenta hackeada. Por suerte todo an order. Disculpas to all my followers. Y por supuesto, mas disculpas a la comunidad LGTB,” the retired Spaniard wrote on Twitter early Monday morning, Australian time.
Translation: “Hacked account. Fortunately everything is fine. Apologies to all my followers. And of course more apologies to the LGBT community.”
A few hours earlier, in a post that was later deleted, Casillas’ account tweeted: “Espero que me respeten: soy gay.” In English: “I hope you respect me: I am gay.”
The post quickly gathered hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets before it disappeared more than an hour later.
Carles Puyol, another legendary Spanish footballer who was Casillas’ national-level teammate (and national-level rival) for many years, was among those who reacted.
“Es el momento de contar lo nuestro, Iker,” Puyol wrote, including a love heart emoji. “It’s the moment to tell our story.”
Puyol’s post has also since been deleted.
‘Lying to everyone’: The football world is breaking down
The deletions left fans unsure whether to take Casillas’ apparent announcement seriously. Spanish media reported that he may have been joking, after becoming frustrated by speculation about his love life in the press.
The retired star was most recently linked to actress Alejandra Onieva, and before that, Colombian singer Shakira.
Before Casillas claimed he had been hacked, a number of voices in the sports world criticized him for apparently making a joke out of coming out.
“Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol joking and making fun of coming out in football is disappointing,” Australian player Josh Cavallo, who came out as gay a year ago, wrote on Twitter.
“It is a difficult journey that all LGBTQ+ people have to go through. Seeing my role models and legends in the game make it fun to come out and my community is beyond disrespectful.”
Former Manchester United player Jonny Sharples labeled Casillas and Puyol’s tweets as “pathetic”.
“All they have achieved is to reinforce the homophobic attitudes that are already prevalent in football and football fandom,” Sharples said.
“It is slow progress. Things like this make it even slower.”
“Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol should be ashamed,” CBS soccer reporter Ben Jacobs said.
“Making a joke about coming out is not only pathetic and sickening, but it feeds homophobia. It achieves the exact opposite of what we want football to be: a safe, inclusive and respectful space. Lost all respect for both players.
“It normalizes jokes about being gay. And the horrific homophobic responses to the “announcement” could easily deter those considering getting into the game. Just a terrible and unnecessary joke, thankfully deleted now.”
And later, in response to Casillas’ claim that he was hacked, former Valencia, Villareal and Liverpool player Jose Enrique accused him of “lying to everyone” instead of “apologizing and admitting the mistake”.
Casillas divorced his wife, sports journalist Sara Carbonero, last year after being married to her for half a decade. They have two children together.
“Today, our love as a couple takes different but not distant paths, as we will continue together in the wonderful task of continuing to be devoted parents, as we have been until now,” he said in a statement at the time.
“This is a well-considered decision that we have made through mutual agreement.”
He said both he and Carbonero felt “immensely proud” of their family and had “shared a love that has filled us with happiness in all our years together”.
“The respect, affection and friendship will remain forever,” Casillas said.
“Our priority is, through devotion and compromise, to share the well-being and education of our children and protect them so that they grow in a stable and healthy environment.
“With these words, we ask that you respect our privacy in this moment of change.”
Carbonero posted the same statement on his own social media channels.
At the end of last month, Casillas was forced to deny speculation that he was dating Shakira, who had recently split from another Spanish footballer, Gerard Pique.
“Touch your nose. OMG,” he wrote on Instagram, after sharing screenshots of articles spreading the rumor.
Shakira and Pique broke up in June, ending a 12-year relationship. Like Casillas and Carbonero, they have two children together.
Casillas’ long and decorated career included one World Cup, two European Championships, five La Liga titles and three Champions League titles.
He made more than 500 appearances with Real Madrid between 1999 and 2015 before moving to Portuguese club Porto, playing a further 116 matches there. He also played 167 times for the Spanish national team.
He announced his retirement from professional football in August 2020.