Spain and Real Madrid football star Iker Casillas sparks searing backlash after fake ‘coming out’

Iker Casillas at an event

Footballer Iker Casillas has clarified that he is not gay, claiming that his “coming out” tweet was posted by hackers.

The retired Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper immediately made headlines when he tweeted: “I hope you respect me: I’m gay” on Sunday (9 October).

Shortly afterwards, his former teammate Carles Puyol added fuel to the fire when he replied: “It’s time to tell our story, Iker”, alongside a heart emoji.

However, it wasn’t long before both players deleted their tweets, which led many to surmise that their entire exchange was a joke.

Shortly after 3.30pm, Casillas told his followers that his account had been hacked, which led to the bogus “coming out” tweet.

“Hacked account. Luckily everything in order,” Casillas tweeted.

“Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community.”

Iker Casillas faces backlash over fake coming out tweet

Casillas is facing widespread backlash, with many accusing the footballer of posting the tweet himself as a joke.

Sources close to Casillas told Spanish outlet AS that his tweet was posted in response to the media’s intense focus on his love life.

Gay footballer Josh Cavallo was among the first to condemn Casillas and Puyol for their tweets.

Pride in Football, a network of LGBTQ+ football fan groups in the UK, said a tweet like the one posted on Casillas’ account “has the chance to do a lot of damage”.

“Misjudged, ill-timed and disappointing,” the group said in a statement.

“We should not be seeing ‘jokes’ at the expense of others in 2022, or ever, period.

“The homophobic reaction on the back of that tweet is not OK.

“It also isn’t OK that we have to react to that tweet. It’s a clear example of someone not thinking before speaking, did he expect all roses and no reaction?”

Pride in Football continued: “That tweet, six words, 32 characters, has the chance to do a lot of damage.

“Damage to the LGBT+ community, and future damage to the culture that is making it difficult in the men’s game for people to be open about their sexual orientation.

“In recent months, we have seen three male professional players share who they are with us all, let’s hope the consequences of this tweet don’t make other male professional footballers think they can’t share who they are.”

Others hit out at the footballers for “slowing” progress for LGBTQ+ people in sport.

Casillas initially won praise from LGBTQ+ football fans when he posted his tweet, with many assuming his “coming out” was legitimate.

However, many were disappointed to see that many replied to his initial tweet with homophobic messages.