Legendary Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, announced he has retired from international football. However, the goalkeeper, 45, who became the oldest player ever to play at the FIFA World Cup during the 2018 tournament held in Russia, will continue playing for Egyptian club Isma'ili.
He played against Saudi Arabia at Russia 2018, and despite Egypt losing the match, El Hadary saved a first-half penalty from Fahad Al-Muwallad.
“Every start has an end," said the Al Ahly, former Zamalek and Isma'ili goalkeeper in an Instagram post. “This is how life goes.
Now after long thinking and seeking God (Almighty) decided to retire from international play. Today after 22 years, 4 months and 12 days on my first match, I saw the Egyptian national team as the best moment to hang my gloves after God helped me to achieve everything I dreamed of doing with our beloved team."
"Now is the moment I did not wait for years to come," he said in a statement published by Reuters.
He added “I am very proud to have played with the national team in 159 internationals, participating in unprecedented achievements. I hope that 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.”
El-Hadary leaves behind a legacy worthy to be interpreted in a movie having served football for 22 years, winning 159 caps, won 4 Africa Cup of Nations crowns, 4 CAF Champions League titles, 4 Egypt Premier League titles, 8 Egypt Cup winners’ medals, 4 Egypt Super cup titles, 4 Arab games winners’ gongs and 4 Goalkeeper of the Year in Africa honors.