Monday,18 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)
Monday,18 February, 2019
Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Al-Hadari retires

Al-Hadari (photo: AP)
Al-Hadari (photo: AP)
Al-Ahram Weekly

LEGENDARY goalkeeper Essam Al-Hadari has announced his retirement from international football. The 45-year-old will however continue his career at the national level as goalkeeper of the Ismaili club, which he had joined after the World Cup.

On Monday, Al-Hadari posted a statement on his official Facebook page. “Every beginning has an end. This is life. After long thought and meditation with God, I have decided to retire from international football today after 22 years, four months and 12 days since playing my first match donning the national team’s jersey. I find this the best moment to take off my gloves and hang them up after a successful career where I have made Egyptians happy.

“Now is the moment I wasn’t waiting or prepared for. There have been many long years where I have fought hard during critical conditions, trained day and night so I could meet all expectations in order to deserve being Egypt’s goalkeeper.”

Al-Hadari, who had his best days with Egyptian club Ahly, protected Egypt’s net in 159 international matches. He won four Africa Cup of Nations in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010 and was named the best goalkeeper in the four editions, in addition to runner-up in 2017.

He also helped the Pharaohs win the 2007 Arab Games.

But Al-Hadari’s biggest achievement was becoming the oldest player to ever play in a World Cup, at 45 years old. The honour came in the third group game against Saudi Arabia in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Although Saudi Arabia won 2-1 in extra time, Al-Hadari managed to save one of two penalty kicks shot at him in the first half. For the record, that stop made Al-Hadari the oldest goalkeeper to save a penalty in a World Cup.

“Finally,” Al-Hadari said on Facebook, “I thank God for all my achievements and pray for the best of luck in the future as well. I hope I have succeeded in my career throughout the past years. I thank all my family for the continuous support they have been giving me all through my career, especially my late father and I thank all of you for your continuous support which has always been the fuel to my success.”

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