Egypt goalkeeper El-Hadary relishes World Cup record

Eslam Omar , Thursday 14 Jun 2018,
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Essam El-Hadary
Essam El-Hadary during the press conference (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt 45-year-old goalkeeper and skipper Essam El-Hadary says it is a dream come true to be present in Russia and play the first World Cup of his 25-year old career.

"I will be the happiest player on earth if I start the game against Uruguay. I won all titles and worked for 25 years until the team qualified for the World Cup. Finally this dream came true. Thank God, I have no despair, " El-Hadary said in the pre-match conference held Thursday.

If he starts in Egypt's game against Uruguay, El-Hadary would make history by becoming the oldest player ever to play in the World Cup.

The Saudi Arabia-based keeper could, therefore, beat the age record of former Colombia keeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 when he took part in the 2014 World Cup.

The Pharaohs captain has also revealed that his teammates are also very passionate and ready to play their first World Cup game since 1990.

"All team members are ready for the World Cup and very focused ahead of Uruguay game," he said.

"The team has plenty of good players who are playing in different European clubs. They are all determined to make a good impression no matter who would play," he added.

El-Hadry is expected to be coach Hector Cuper's number-one choice between the sticks - amid little competition from Ahly duo Sherif Ekramy and Mohamed El-Shennawi - after his main challenger, Zamalek's Ahmed El-Shennawi, was ruled out of the World Cup with injury.

The iconic keeper inspired Egypt to win three successive Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

The seven-time African champions, Egypt, will take on hosts Russia on 19 June before facing Saudi Arabia in their final group stage game on 25 June.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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