Porto's doctors said the former Spain goalkeeper is expected to fully recover, but it is too early to know if he can keep playing professionally.

By Associated Press
May 05, 2019

BARCELONA, Spain — Real Madrid's players and fans took a moment before Sunday's 3-2 Spanish league win over Villarreal to send messages of support to former star goalkeeper Iker Casillas as he recovers from a heart attack.

Players posed for a team photo wearing T-shirts that said in Spanish ''Iker, we are all with you,'' while spectators at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium chanted his name and unfurled a huge banner saying ''Madrid fans are with you. Stay strong, eternal captain.''

The 37-year-old Casillas fell ill while training for his club, FC Porto, on Wednesday and remains hospitalized after undergoing a catheterization. Porto's doctors said the former Spain goalkeeper is expected to fully recover, but it is too early to know if he can keep playing professionally.

Casillas was a fan favorite during his 16 seasons with Madrid, where he won three Champions League and five Spanish league trophies. Casillas also helped Spain to win the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships. He joined Portuguese club Porto in 2015.

Against Villarreal, Madrid bounced back from a 0-0 draw at Getafe and a 1-0 loss at relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano as it struggles to compete consistently despite the return of coach Zinedine Zidane.

Barcelona clinched the league title last week. With Madrid in a distant third place, all the talk in the Spanish capital is what the club will do in the offseason to shake up its squad.

Zidane left stars Gareth Bale and Luka Modric off his squad for the match.

''You can interpret it any way you want, but I have to pick a squad (for the game), nothing more,'' Zidane said afterward. ''I am not going to talk about the next season of anyone.''

Little used striker Mariano Diaz and defender Jesus Vallejo responded to their rare starts Sunday by scoring. Diaz struck twice, while Vallejo got his first goal for the club. Gerard Moreno and Jaume Costa scored for Villarreal.

Madrid's Vinicius Junior returned as a late substitute after two months sidelined with a leg injury.

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