Messi & Pique Send Classy Messages to Retiring Casillas

Iker Casillas and Lionel Messi

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Barcelona captain Lionel Messi and defender Gerard Pique have both sent classy messages to Iker Casillas after the Real Madrid and Spain legend announced his retirement on Tuesday.

Messi wrote a touching tribute to the goalkeeper via Spanish newspaper AS.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Pique took to social media with a tweet that read: “You were always an example to follow on and off the field. Thanks for everything Iker Casillas.”

Casillas had previously confirmed he would be hanging up his gloves at the age of 39 in a letter posted on Twitter:

“This is the most important day and at the same time one of the most difficult of my sporting career, the time has come to say goodbye.

“I have been very fortunate to make a career out of something that I am passionate about, something that fills me and makes me happy.

“My football career started 30 years ago and it has been a long path and like any journey, it’s had its good times and sad times. Looking back and at this stage of my life, I can say it’s been well worth it.”

The former Spain international also took time out to offer his thanks to former team-mates and coaches. Casillas has not played competitively since suffering a heart attack in training with Porto in May 2019. He returned to training in November 2019.

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Pique & Messi Put Rivalry Aside

Messi, Pique and Casillas enjoyed a long and intense rivalry as players for Barcelona and Real Madrid. The former goalkeeper won five league titles and three Champions League crowns during his long and successful career at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Casillas remains the Champions League’s all-time leading appearance-maker with 177 appearances. He is currently in talks to return to Real Madrid as an advisor, according to Rodrigo Faez and Adriana Garcia at ESPN.

Yet Pique and Casillas also enjoyed great success together at international level. They were part of the Spain team that won the World Cup for the first time in South Africa in 2010.

Casillas captained the team to World Cup glory and also tasted success with La Roja at the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. In total the goalkeeper made 167 appearances for the national team and is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers to ever play the game.

READ NEXT: ‘Bang Average’ Pique Slammed By Ex-Real Madrid Defender

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