‘You are a spectacular goalkeeper and it was really hard to have you as an opponent’: Lionel Messi sends a classy message to former Real Madrid rival Iker Casillas after he hung up his gloves at the age of 39
Casillas called time on his illustrious career at the age of 39 on Tuesday just 14 months on from suffering a heart attack during training with Porto.
While at Madrid, Casillas racked up an incredible five La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues while winning the 2010 World Cup and back-to-back European Championships with Spain in 2008 and 2012.
Lionel Messi sent a classy message to Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas following his retirement
Casillas played 725 times for Madrid, winning three Champions Leagues and five La Liga titles
REAL MADRID 1999-2015
LaLiga 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2011-12
Copa del Rey 2010-11, 2013-14
Supercopa de Espana 2001, 2003, 2008, 2012
Champions League 1999-2000, 2001-02, 2013-14
UEFA Super Cup 2002, 2014
FIFA Club World Cup 2014
Intercontinental Cup 1998, 2002
Portuguese Primeira Liga 2017-18, 2019-20
Portuguese Cup 2019-20
World Cup 2010
European Championship 2008, 2012
And following his decision to retire, Messi took time to acknowledge his former Madrid rival after some incredible battles over the years in El Clasico.
Writing a message in Spanish newspaper AS, Messi said: ‘Iker retires today, but he passed into the history of football a long time ago.
‘Not only because he was a benchmark in La Liga, but also because he managed to win everything internationally.
‘You are a spectacular goalkeeper and it was really hard to have you as an opponent.
‘But, looking back, I also think that it was a pretty nice rivalry that made us have to outdo ourselves every time we faced each other.’
On his Twitter account on Tuesday, Casillas – who played a sensational 725 times for Spanish giants Madrid before finishing his playing days with Porto – announced his retirement in a letter and penned an emotional message.
He wrote: ‘The important thing is the path you travel and the people who accompany you, not the destination to which it takes you.
‘Because that with work and effort, I think I can say, without hesitation, that is has been the path and the dream destination.’
Madrid then paid their own tribute to a player who featured for them over the course of 16 seasons between 1999 and 2015. He had been with their youth set-up since 1990.
They wrote: ‘Real Madrid CF wants to show its appreciation, admiration and love for one of the greatest legends of our club and world football.
‘The best goalkeeper in the history of Real Madrid and Spanish football came to…