Clearly emotional, with his voice cracking and tears in his eyes, Iker Casillas recognised that he was "very lucky" to have survived after suffering a heart attack during training with his team FC Porto last Wednesday.
Five days later, on Monday, the World Cup winning goalkeeper was discharged from hospital, able to tell his tale: "This was something that could happen to anyone at any time," he said, recognising that he had been made to feel very "loved" by "the many people who showed concern over these last few days".
Casillas, 37, confirmed that he was feeling "a lot better" after being discharged that that he would need "a long rest" of a couple of weeks or even months. He didn't, however, show concern over the very real possibility that he might have to quit football, just a month and a half after he renewed his contract with his club side until 2021. "I don't know what the future will hold. The truth is I'm not too bothered. The most important thing is that I'm here," he said at the doors of the CUF hospital in Porto where he gave a brief statement, lasting three minutes, during which he wanted to reassure his fans and give messages of thanks.
"I want to thank Doctor Nelson (the FC Porto club doctor), everyone there who helped to get me to hospital so quickly to limit the effects of the heart attack I had, to João Carlos who fitted my stent, and to the thousands of shows of affection that people have shared with me via social media, videos and messages... from all sides of football," said the former Real Madrid and Spain captain, who joked that he would now have plenty of time to get round to answering them.
"See you soon!" he said, waving to journalists and fans who had gathered in front of the hospital, before leaving with his wife, Sara Carbonero, who had already announced that the couple would be heading to their home in Foz (Galicia) where Casillas would start his rehabilitation.
In any case, the man considered one of the greatest players of all time, won't be able to take part in any form of sport for at least three months and will, in all probability, have to a call it a day in elite sport after suffering a "completely unforseen" heart attack, in the words of FC Porto doctor Nelson Puga. "He didn't have any cardiovascular risk indicators nor a family history of cardiac issues at a young age. If he hadn't received such quick attention, the consequences could have been very serious," said Dr Puga, referring to "a silent illness which evolves very slowly as a result a number of factors and which results in an artery blocking and a heart attack occurring".
During the morning, before being discharged, Casillas had told his Twitter followers that he was "on the mend". Casillas, who normally starts his weeks with a link to a song on the social media platform, this time chose Marisol's 1968 hit 'Corazón contento' (Happy Heart), alongside an emoticon showing a gesture of strength.
The goalkeeper who represented Spain at four World Cups, had a stent implanted to solve his heart problem and sought to keep his fans reassured throughout his time in hospital. "Everything is under control here," he said in his first message on 1 May. "It was a big scare but my spirit remains intact."
The next day he posted a message entitled 'Thank you', showing his appreciation for all the warmth he received as the world of football put its rivalries aside to give a collective '¡ánimo!' to one of the game's greats.