Casillas: Future in soccer uncertain after heart attack

FC Porto's Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas speaks to journalists in front of the CUF Hospital in Porto, Portugal, May 6, 2019. EPA-EFE/RUI FARINHA

PORTO, PORTUGAL.- Former Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas said Monday that his future as a professional soccer player is unclear after he suffered a heart attack last week.

The goalie was hospitalized on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack at the training ground of his Portuguese club, FC Porto.

“I feel much better, it will be a rest for a couple of weeks or even a couple of months, the truth is that I do not care, the important thing is to be here,» Casillas told journalists outside hospital after he was discharged.

During his brief statement outside CUF Hospital in Lisbon, he expressed his gratitude for the support he had received in recent days, saying that people can count on him being “lucky.”

Barely able to control his tears, Casillas also thanked the medical staff at Porto and at the hospital, who helped him get over his crisis, adding: “We had to wait and let the heart, the body and the head settle.”

Earlier in the day, Casillas uploaded a song titled «Corazon Contento» (Happy Heart) by Argentine singer Palito Ortega to his Twitter account.

“Good morning, I am with a #happy heart and what about you? I am getting better!” he wrote.

Casillas, who will turn 38 years old this month, will continue his recovery at home after he had suffered an acute myocardial infarction during a training session and was rushed to hospital where doctors performed a catheterization.

«Fortunately, (the problem) was diagnosed quickly and the procedures came out well,» Dr. Nelson Puga, FC Porto’s team physician, said.

He described Casillas as «fine, stable, with his characteristic good humor, calm and accompanied by his family.»

The club said earlier that the goalkeeper’s heart problem was «resolved.»

Real Madrid said in a statement: «Iker Casillas taught us during his professional career how to overcome the most incredible challenges to bring the club to new heights of glory.»

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez later on May 1 expressed his support for Casillas and wrote to Twitter: “A big hug for Iker Casillas and his family, we look forward to his quick recovery and having him back to goalkeeping.»

Political leaders took to social media to express their encouragement.

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.”

The President of Portugal, Rebelo de Sousa, telephoned Casillas to learn about his health on May 2 as soon de Sousa ‘s plane had landed from a state trip to China.

In his 16 years with Real Madrid, Casillas won the UEFA Champions League three times, LaLiga 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.

While at Porto, Casillas has won the 2017-2018 Primeira Liga crown and the 2018 Portugal Super Cup.

He has 187 Champions League appearances, the most of any goalkeeper, and the highest number of clean sheets in the tournament: 59.

Capped 167 times, Casillas was part of the Spain side that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.

Porto is currently two points behind Primeira Liga leaders Benfica with two matches left in the domestic season.

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