Former Spain captain and FIFA World Cup winner Iker Casillas hit the headlines over the weekend after a bizarre incident where he came out as "gay" over Twitter, and then later claimed that his account was hacked. His former national team colleague Carles Puyol was dragged into the controversy after responding with an apparent joke.

On Sunday, Real Madrid legend Casillas suddenly tweeted "I hope you respect me: I'm gay," to the surprise of many of his nearly 10 million followers. Over 250,000 people liked the tweet before he eventually deleted it. However, before he could do so, Puyol replied by saying: "It's time to tell our story."

Two hours after deleting his "coming out" tweet, Casillas then tweeted again to say that his account was hacked, along with an apology to the LGBTQ+ community. However, netizens were not buying the explanation.

The former Barcelona defender's comment made it clear to some critics that there must be some kind of inside joke between the two players at the expense of the LGBTQ+ community.

Puyol apologised for his comment and said: "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 LGBTQIA+ community."

It is still unclear if the original tweet from Casillas was the work of a hacker, but Puyol admitted that he responded in bad taste. According to various media outlets, Casillas may have made the tweet in response to various speculations about his love life in recent months, including one that has linked him with pop sensation Shakira.

The rumours about his personal life began to pick up pace after announcing his divorce from TV presenter Sara Carbonero last March. The former couple split after five years of marriage.

Regardless of whether he was hacked or not, many are criticising Casillas for the incident. He is believed to have made the situation harder for athletes who are already struggling with coming out especially while still active.

Some are angry by the claims of a "hacking," saying that he should have apologised instead of hiding behind an alleged lie.

Iker Casillas
Iker Casillas is in hot water due to his social media activity Getty