Spain's King Juan Carlos denied being "extremely sick" and described the state of his health as a "matter of screws," a reference to the back and hip operations he has undergone over the past few years.

The 75-year-old monarch made his remarks during an informal conversation with reporters following the closure of the 14th General Staff Course at the CESEDEN defense college in Madrid, an event at which he used a pair of crutches to support himself.

A total of 144 military personnel, including 28 foreigners, received their certifying diplomas for the 14th General Staff Course, which they began last September.

Wearing a navy uniform, the king was accompanied by Defense Minister Pedro Morenes and the full military hierarchy.

This was the second military event outside his residence in the Zarzuela Palace since his operation for a herniated disc that he underwent early last March. EFE