Egypt keeper, oldest World Cup player, quits national team

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 08, 2018 09:19 AM
Egypt keeper, oldest World Cup player, quits national team
FILE - In this Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 file photo, Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary celebrates after Egypt's Mohamed Elneny scored the opening goal during the African Cup of Nations final soccer match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Stade de l'Amitie, in Libreville, Gabon. In a social media announcement, the 45-year old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary said he is retiring from the national team after becoming the oldest man to play in a World Cup match. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

By Sam Magdy, Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary is retiring from the national team after becoming the oldest man to play in a World Cup match.

El Hadary started the World Cup as Egypt's backup goalkeeper, but he played in his team's final group match in Russia, saving a penalty in the 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia on June 25.

"After 22 years, four months and 12 days, I saw it as the best moment to hang up my gloves," the 45-year-old El Hadary wrote on Facebook. "This is a moment I didn't want to come ... I am very proud to have played with the national team in 159 internationals, participating in unprecedented achievements."

El Hadary made his debut for the national team in 1996. He won four African Cup of Nations titles with Egypt, including three straight with him as goalkeeper in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Teammate Mohamed Salah hailed the veteran goalkeeper on Twitter.

"A new legend from a great golden generation is leaving us," the Liverpool forward wrote Tuesday.

In Russia, El Hadary overtook Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 when he came on as a late substitute in Colombia's 4-1 victory over Japan four years ago at the World Cup in Brazil.

El Hadary, who will continue to play for Egyptian club Ismaili, first rose to prominence with Cairo club Al-Ahly, but he fell out with management and left in 2008 for Switzerland. Since then, El Hadary he has become something of a soccer nomad, playing for several clubs in Egypt, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

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