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Lionel Messi Sends Classy Message To Iker Casillas After He Retires From Football

Lionel Messi Sends Classy Message To Iker Casillas After He Retires From Football

Lionel Messi has paid tribute to Iker Casillas after the Spaniard retired from football at the age of 39.

The Real Madrid legend announced his decision on Tuesday, calling time on a career that saw him claim a total of 24 trophies - including five La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, two European Championships and one World Cup.

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Having suffered a heart attack just over a year ago, Casillas bowed out with a final trophy lift at FC Porto, with captain Danilo Pereira and teammates encouraging him to get up on the podium after the Portuguese Cup triumph over Benfica.

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He will go down as one of the best goalkeepers in history and Messi, who came up against and scored many past him in various El Clasico fixtures, sent him a classy message in which he said he was one of his most difficult opponents.

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Taking to Spanish newspaper AS to pen a short tribute, he wrote: "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."

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Casillas will have wholly appreciated those words from Messi, especially considering he deems him to be the greatest player to walk the earth.

After he curled in a beauty against Atletico Madrid in December, Casillas couldn't help but pay him the highest compliment on Twitter.

Topics: Football News, FC Barcelona, Football, Lionel Messi, Iker Casillas, Real Madrid

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Josh is a sports journalist who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.