Iker Casillas announces his retirement

Iker Casillas had been sidelined for more than a year with a heart problem

The legendary Real Madrid goalkeeper announced his retirement from world football at the end of a 22-year playing career after suffering a health scare, vowing to explore options away from the pitch.

The 39-year-old, one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, announced on social media on Tuesday that he has chose to retire as a professional football player.

"The most important thing is the path you travel and the people who accompany you, not the destination that it takes you", wrote the Real Madrid legend. Because with work and effort, I think I can say, without hesitation, that it is has been the path and the dream destination.

He also helped Spain win one World Cup and two European Championships.

Casillas had 167 appearances for Spain.

In a glittering career, Casillas won three Champions Leagues and five LaLiga titles with Madrid, while he was a two-time European Championship victor with Spain, who he also captained to World Cup glory in 2010.

Last summer, after a heart attack, Casillas got a place From FC Porto's coaching team.

After leaving Real in 2015 Casillas crossed the border to join Portuguese giants Porto.

The player announced his decision on a messaging service on Twitter on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old last featured for Qatari football league side, Al-Gharafa, where he scored 15 goals in 22 appearances in just one season at the club. He was formed here and defended our shirt for 25 years, becoming one of our most emblematic captains of all time. "Congratulations on the road @IkerCasillas and thank you for everything!" he posted on Twitter.

Iker Casillas Fernández yahoze ari umunyezgori wa Real Madrid n'umurwi nserukiragihugu wa Espagne yasezeye mu mupira w'amaguru afise imyaka 39.

"Casillas belongs to the heart of Real Madrid and this will be so forever".

Former Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon, who played against Casillas on numerous occasions and is also seen as one of his country's finest ever goalkeepers, echoed Ramos and Del Bosque's praise.

"They say competition makes us better than others but not ideal faced with ourselves".

"His intelligence and maturity have made us always respect each other and years later we have even been able to cultivate an honest friendship", Mourinho told AS before acknowledging the pair's difficulties in the past.