Veteran Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary retires from international football

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The Egyptian shot-stopper has brought an end to an illustrious playing career with the national team that spanned over two decades.

Legendary Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary has called it quits with the national team.

El-Hadary has featured in over a century of games for the Pharaohs since making his national team debut in 1996.

The 45-year-old has played in 159 matches for the national team in over two decades his last appearance coming in Egypt’s final group game at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

El-Hadary made history at the 2018 World Cup in Russia as he became the oldest player to debut and feature at the quadrennial event aged 45.

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The veteran goalkeeper went on to achieve an even bigger feat after saving a penalty kick in the match against Saudi Arabia thus becoming the oldest player to feature at the World Cup and the oldest goalkeeper to save a penalty kick at the World Cup.

He boasts an enviable trophy cabinet at international level; a record four African Cup of Nations [1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010], but lost out on a fifth in 2017 after Cameroon’s sensational triumph. Also, he has being named the best goalkeeper in Africa four times.

At club level, El-Hadary is best known for his time with Egyptian giants Al Ahly where he spent 12 years winning eight Egyptian Premier League titles, four Egypt Cups, four Egyptian Super Cups, four CAF Champions League titles, three CAF Super Cups, one Arab Club Champions Cup, and two Arab Super Cups.

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He currently plies his trade with Egyptian Premier League side Ismaily.

The ex-Al Ahly goalkeeper announced his decision in a statement saying:

“There is an end for every start, after a lot of thinking I took my decision to international retirement 22 years, 4 months and 12 days from my first match with Egypt and I saw that this is the right moment to hang my gloves after we made the Egyptian people happy by participating in the World Cup.

“This is a moment I didn’t want to come, I trained hard day and night to reach high performances and to be with the Egyptian team, I am very proud to play 159 matches with Egypt, won the African Cup of Nations four times, reached the final in 2017, won the best goalkeeper in Africa four times, won the Arab games in 2007 and finally reach the World Cup.

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“Finally, thank God for everything. I want to thank my family for helping me always especially my father and thank every one of you for your support that helped me a lot to reach all these achievements.”