Egyptian legendary and goalkeeper Essam El Hadary has officially announced his retirement from football at the age of 47.
El Hadary has 159 caps for the Egyptian national football team, having made his debut for the Pharaohs in 1996.
“I announce very clearly that I have decided to quit football permanently. I am on the cusp of a new challenging experience. I took training courses in Europe,” said El Hadary.
The 47-year-old spent much of his club career with Egyptian giants Al Ahly where he won several titles – eight Egyptian Premier League titles, four Egyptian Cups and Super Cups, four CAF Champions League titles, three CAF Super Cups and one Arab Club Champions Cup.
The former Al Ahly goalkeeper made history by becoming the oldest player in history to play in a World Cup match in the 2018 edition, the only one he featured in. At 45 years and 161 days, he eclipsed Colombian Faryd Mondragón’s record of 43 years and three days.
The veteran goalkeeper was in the books of Nogoom when he announced his retirement. Nogoom is an Egyptian second division club based in Giza.
“Football is my second wife and I have divorced it. I am not returning to play football again, the entire system has errors and club heads attacking each other, and may God be in the help of the players,” he added.
El Hadary has had his fair share of play with other clubs in Egypt such as Al Ahly’s arch-rivals Zamalek, Ismaily, Wadi Degla and Al-Ittihad. He also played in Sudan for Al Merreikh and in Switzerland for Sion.
The Egyptian legend retired from international football in August 2018.
By Mauwane Raophala