Iker Casillas, former goalkeeper for Spain, claimed that his Twitter account was hacked following a post that said he was gay.
Spanish was the message that appeared under the blue-tick-verified account of World Cup-winning keeper: “I hope you’ll respect me: I’m homosexual.”
It was seen with the hashtag “HappySunday” in Spanish and was ‘liked 250,000 times, creating social media buzz.
However, it also contained homophobic remarks, which were later removed and replaced by another tweet apologizing.
The replacement tweet read: “Hacked account. Everything is now in order. All my followers, I apologise. Also, apologies to my LGBT friends.
Partly fueled by one reply from ex-Barcelona captain Carles Puyol to the original tweet, speculation mounted that the tweet to Casillas, which had more than ten millions followers, had actually been a joke. This has been criticised and criticized by members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Casillas’ international teammate Puyol had posted: “It is time to tell them all about us” and signed it off with a heart emoji and a kissing emoticon.
The tweet was also deleted. Puyol later apologised for the error, stating that it was “totally inappropriate”.
He said, “I made a mistake. I am sorry for the clumsy joke, but it was not intended to be offensive. I am sorry if it caused sensitivities. I offer my support and respect to the LGTBIQA+ group.
Adelaide United left-back Josh Cavallo called the original exchanges “beyond disrespectful”.
Last October, the Australian footballer came out as gay. He is one of few male active players to publicly identify as LGBTQ+.
He stated that it was disappointing to see role models make fun of being out.
According to Spanish reports, Casillas may have tweeted his first response to media rumors about his post-divorce relationship.
After five years of marriage, Casillas and Sara, a TV host, split up last year.
His original tweet was sent a day after Spanish media reported that he was in a relationship to a local actress.
After being capped 167-times in Spain and playing more than 700 games for Real Madrid, Casillas has been hailed as a legend in Spanish football.
Blackpool’s Jake Daniels, a male professional footballer from Blackpool, became the first person to publicly identify as gay since Justin Fashanu’s 1990.
Cavallo’s tweet was retweeted by him.