Iker Casillas claims his Twitter account was hacked after ‘I’m gay’ post

Sport

Iker Casillas has claimed his Twitter account was hacked after a post on it said he was gay.

“I hope I’ll be respected: I’m gay,” read a tweet from his account on Sunday morning, a day after Spanish media reported that the former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper was in a relationship with a local actress. The tweet was soon deleted, and was followed by a supposedly explanatory post.

“Hacked account,” it read. “Luckily everything in order. Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community.”

Casillas’s original post drew a response from another former Spain international, Carles Puyol, implying the two were in a relationship. Puyol did not claim his account was hacked, instead apologising for “a clumsy joke with no bad intentions”. He added: “I understand that it may have hurt sensitivities. All my respect and support for the LGTBIQA+ community.”

The tweets were met with widespread criticism. Among those to register their condemnation was Josh Cavallo, the Adelaide United player who came out as gay last year: “Casillas and Puyol joking and making fun out of coming out in football is disappointing,” he wrote. “It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ ppl have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful.”

Cavallo’s post was shared by Jake Daniels, the Blackpool forward who in May became the first current player in the UK to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Although openly gay players remain rare in the men’s game, some progress has been made in recent years. In 2012, the former Germany and Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger came out shortly after calling time on his playing career. The following year, the former Leeds midfielder Robbie Rogers did the same, eventually reversing his retirement to play for LA Galaxy in MLS.

In June, two Scottish referees, Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson, came out as gay – with the Gala Fairydean Rovers striker Zander Murray following their example last month to become Scotland’s first senior male player to do so.