Spain and Real Madrird football legend Iker Casillas tweets that he’s gay: ‘I hope you respect me’

Iker Casillas attends 'Colgar Las Alas' photocall at Movistar Studios on November 18, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Spain and Real Madrid football legend Iker Casillas appears to have come out as gay – but it’s not entirely clear whether it’s true or not.

In a tweet posted on Sunday (9 October), the retired goalkeeper said: “I hope you respect me: I’m gay.”

However, it wasn’t long before Casillas’ tweet was deleted, prompting speculation that the entire “coming out” moment was a hoax.

Update: Iker Casillas has since said he is not gay and that his “coming out” tweet was posted by hackers.

According to Spanish news outlet AS, the tweet may have been posted in response to rumours about his dating life that have made their way into the media.

The former goalkeeper and his former wife Sara Carbonero announced that they were separating in 2021, and since then rumours have swirled about his romantic life.

“Both Sara and I feel enormously proud of the family we are and of having shared a love that has filled us with happiness during all our years together,” Casillas said in an Instagram post at the time.

“Today our love as a couple takes different but not distant paths since we’ll continue together in the marvellous task of continuing to be devoted parents as we have been up until now.”

He was most recently linked to Alejandra Onieva, the former sister in law of Spanish television host Tamara Falco.

It’s unclear whether Iker Casillas’ coming out was legitimate

If Casillas’ coming out is legitimate, it would be a hugely significant moment – he would immediately become one of the most famous LGBTQ+ athletes in the world.

Casillas retired from professional football in 2020 after he suffered a heart attack the year before.

Shortly after Casillas posted his tweet, his former teammate Carles Puyol replied saying: “It’s time to tell our story, Iker,” alongside a heart emoji, which prompted even more speculation about the nature of their relationship.

Many people were quick to condemn the homophobia posted in response to Casillas’ since-deleted tweet, even while it remained unclear whether or not the footballer had actually come out.