LGBTQ+ sports fans have slammed Real Madrid footballer Iker Casillas for his fake coming-out announcement.

On 9 October, the 41-year-old appeared to come out as gay when he tweeted:” I hope you respect me: I’m gay.”

Casillas’ tweet was then met with a response from his former Spain teammate Carles Puyol, who seemingly hinted at being gay as well.

“It’s time to tell our story, Iker,” Puyol replied alongside a heart emoji.

However an hour later, the aforementioned tweets were deleted – which prompted fans to speculate about the sincerity of the two players’ statements.

A few hours later, Casillas returned to Twitter and revealed that his account was “hacked.”

“Hacked account. Luckily everything in order,” he wrote.” Apologies to all my followers. And, of course, more apologies to the LGBT community.”

Puyol also apologised for his tweet, writing: “I have made a mistake. Sorry for a clumsy joke with no bad intentions and totally out of place.All my respect and support for the LGTBIQA+ community.”

According to AS, sources revealed that Casillas uploaded his “coming out” message due to the constant coverage of his love life.

Shortly after the two former Spain players uploaded their apologies, football fans took to Twitter to slam the duo for their reckless statements.

One person wrote: “Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol’s tweets were pathetic, and all they’ve achieved is to embolden the homophobic attitudes that are already rife within football and within football fandom. Slow progress is being made, things like this simply make it even slower.”

Another user tweeted: “Thank you, Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol, for turning coming out into a ‘joke’ and providing timelines filled with homophobia and hate for gay football fans to read today. What a fantastic joke. Idiots.”

Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo, who came out as gay in October 2021, said Casillas and Puyol’s antics were “disappointing.”

“It’s a difficult journey that any LGBTQ+ ppl have to go through. To see my role models and legends of the game make fun out of coming out and my community is beyond disrespectful,” he tweeted.

Lastly, Pride in Football – which is a network of UK-based football fan groups – described the situation as “Misjudged, ill-timed and disappointing” in their own statement.

“We should not be seeing “jokes” at the expense of others in 2022, or ever, period,” they wrote.

“The homophobic reaction on the back of that tweet was not okay. It also isn’t okay that we have to react to that tweet.

“High-profile sports stars joking about the exact thing is damaging to people in the community. That tweet, six words, 32 characters, has the chance to do a lot of damage.”