Football

Egypt iconic goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary retires after 27-year career

Essam El-Hadary, the oldest keeper in history to play at a World Cup and Egypt’s iconic shot-stopper, announced on Wednesday that he is retiring from the game after a hugely successful career characterized by on-field heroics and unyielding determination to carry on in his 40s.

The 47-year-old, who has been without a club for over a year, moved to formally announce that he is quitting football to quell widespread reports linking him with a couple of Egyptian Premier League clubs, including the newly-promoted Ceramica Cleopatra.

“I’m today bringing down the curtain on my footballing career,” El-Hadary said on his social media accounts.

“I’m not joining a new club; I’m instead on the verge of a new challenge. I took coaching training courses in Europe โ€ฆ and I’m ready to begin a new career as a coach.”

El-Hadary’s distinguished never-say-die attitude was key in helping him defy critics over and over again.

He proved doubters wrong on many occasions, not least when he stepped in as a substitute for the injured Ahmed El-Shennawi in Egypt’s opening game of the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

At 45 years and 161 days, El-Hadary beat the record set by Colombia keeper Faryd Mondragon when he participated at the 2014 World Cup at the age of 43 years and three days.

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