The ex-wife of Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas has reportedly undergone an emergency op three years after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Journalist Sara Carbonero, who famously kissed the former international during a post-match interview after Spain won the 2010 World Cup, is said to have been hospitalised after going for a routine check-up.
Spanish magazine Lecturas reported the emergency op took place on Monday at the University Hospital of Navarra in Madrid.
Neither Iker, who officially retired from football in August 2020 aged 39 some 13 months after suffering a heart attack, or his ex-wife have yet made any official comment.
Their two children are understood to be staying with Sara's sister Irene while Casillas continues to work in Qatar.
It was not immediately clear tonight what problem medics had detected.
Lecturas, in an exclusive report which is now being echoed by several other Spanish papers, said: 'After carrying out a check-up, the medical team decided Sara's admission was a matter of urgency.'
It added, referring to Casillas' decision to remain in Qatar where he is debuting as an official sports commentator for Spanish state broadcaster RTVE: 'After being informed about what had happened, Casillas offered to renounce the World Cup to look after the children, a decision which finally wasn't taken to give the greatest normality to the situation.
Sara, currently working in radio, announced in May 2019 she had been operated on for ovarian cancer while she and Iker were still together.
Doctors discovered the malignant tumour shortly after the heart attack which brought her then-husband's playing career to a premature end.
The 38-year-old underwent surgery at Madrid's prestigious Ruber International Clinic to remove the tumour before undergoing several months of chemotherapy.
Casillas, dubbed Saint Iker for his ability to produce spectacular saves, officially announced his retirement from professional football last August following his May 2019 heart attack while he was with Portuguese top-flight side Porto.
He made 510 appearances during his 16 years with Real Madrid and is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in footballing history.
He married Sara in secret on March 20, 2016, three months before the birth of their second child Lucas but details of the union only emerged 10 days later.
The former couple confirmed in March last year they had split just three days after appearing to deny reports of a break-up.
They admitted their love had 'taken separate paths' but said they would remain close to continue the 'marvellous job' of raising their two children.
In October the 41-year-old former footballer was criticised after being slammed for a controversial 'I am gay' joke on Twitter.
He is thought to have tweeted the joke in response to media reports linking him to a string of women including Gerard Pique's ex-Shakira.
Casillas' claims he had been hacked were met with derision in many parts of the world, with former Celta Vigo and Villarreal footballer Jose Enrique accusing him of lying.
Former Barcelona captain Carles Puyol responded to Casillas' tweet with the clumsy reply: 'It's time to tell our story Iker' before going on to apologise.