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Iker Casillas is expected to fully recover from a heart attack but Porto's doctor says it's too early to know if the veteran goalkeeper will keep playing professionally.

By Associated Press
May 02, 2019

MADRID (AP) – Iker Casillas is expected to fully recover from a heart attack but Porto's doctor says it's too early to know if the veteran goalkeeper will keep playing professionally.

Casillas remained hospitalized on Thursday, a day after falling ill during a practice and undergoing a catheterization.

Doctor Nelson Puga said the playing future of the 37-year-old goalie will depend on several factors.

''It will depend on the medication that he will need to take, on the evaluation of the physical demands of his profession, and also on his will to keep playing,'' Puga told Porto's official TV channel. ''Only after carefully taking all that into consideration will it be possible to decide whether he will continue, and whether he wants to continue.''

Casillas said on Thursday everything was ''under control'' and despite ''a big scare'' he was still feeling strong.

Puga said ''luckily'' the heart attack was diagnosed quickly after Casillas arrived at the hospital, and the goalkeeper was not expected to sustain any long-term damage.

He said the doctors who treated Casillas ''thankfully had good hands, just like Casillas in goal.''

Casillas' agent, Carlo Cutropia, told Spanish media the goalkeeper started feeling chest pains and problems with his mouth and arms nearly halfway through practice at Porto's training center.

''This is more important than winning a World Cup,'' Cutropia said. ''It's the greatest victory of his life, the biggest save of his life.''

He said Casillas was feeling upbeat and was joking around in the hospital.

Messages of support to the goalkeeper came from clubs and players across the world.

Shortly after leading Barcelona to a 3-0 win over Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals, Lionel Messi sent Casillas a message on Instagram.

''I want to send a big hug to (Casillas) and wish him a speedy recovery,'' he said.

Club president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa said everyone at Porto now carries extra motivation to keep winning matches. The defending Portuguese champion trails Benfica by two points with two games left in the Portuguese league.

Casillas recently had his contract with Porto extended until the end of the 2019-20 season, with an option for another one-year extension.

He joined the Portuguese club in 2015 after 16 seasons with Real Madrid, which he helped to win five Spanish league titles and three Champions League trophies.

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

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