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45-year-old El Hadary Retires From International Football

Egyptian legend Essam El Hadary announces his retirement from international football.

Egyptian legend Essam El Hadary has announced he is retiring from international football after becoming the oldest player to feature at a World Cup at the age of 45.

The shot-stopper became the oldest player to feature at a World Cup when he played for Egypt against Saudi Arabia in Russia this summer. Many thought El Hadary had been given the chance just to break the record for sentimentality’s sake but his performance that day deserved a man-of-the-match award.

Even though Egypt were beaten, El Hadary stood tall between the posts and saved a first half penalty from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Muwallad. It might have been his World Cup debut and only World Cup appearance but El Hadary put on a performance that will live long in the minds of Egyptian fans.

He made his international debut in 1996, and was part of the Egyptian golden generation that dominated African football in the 2000’s. El Hadary won the African Cup of nations four times and was selected as goalkeeper of the tournament in 2006, 2008 and most recently in 2010.

The Egyptian former captain confirmed his retirement in a social media post on Monday evening.

“Everything has a beginning and an end. After a longtime of thinking, I have decided to retire from playing internationally,” El Hadary wrote on his Facebook page.

“I am very proud to have played with the national team in 159 internationals, participating in unprecedented achievements.

“Today, 22 years, 4 months and 12 days have passed since I first played my first match with the Egyptian National team. I thought it’s the best moment to hang my gloves after Allah helped me achieve all my dreams with our beloved national team…”

“I hope I have succeeded in my mission over the past years. I extend my thanks and gratitude to my family, who have borne the difficulties of my life and supported me in all my steps,” he added.

He joined Egyptian club Ismaily on a free transfer after running down his one-year contract with Saudi outfit Al-Tawawoun this summer and was crucial in the sides draw against Al Ahly Cairo on 2nd August.

His retirement comes just days after the Pharaohs unveiled new gaffer Javier Aguirre who takes charge from Hector Cuper who resigned after a poor World Cup showing.

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