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.
OFFICIAL: Legendary Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary has announced his retirement from football after a remarkable 27-year career 🇪🇬
🏆 AFCON x4
🏆 Swiss Cup
🏆 Egyptian PL x8
🏆 Egyptian Cup x3
🏆 Egyptian Super Cup x4
🏆 CAF CL x3
🏆 CAF Super Cup x3pic.twitter.com/G7LGOGGbAw
— JABULANI XI (@JABULANIXI) November 19, 2020
“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 … 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.