Egypt longtime goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who became this year the oldest player in history to feature at the World Cup, announced late Monday his retirement from international football at the age of 45.
"Everything has a beginning and an end. After a long time of thinking, I decided to retire from playing internationally," the former Ahly and Zamalek star said in a long statement.
"Today, 22 years, four months and 12 days have passed since I played my first match with the Egyptian national team. I thought it's the best moment to hang up my gloves after Allah helped me achieve all my dreams with our beloved national team to please our great nation. Now, the moment I wasn't waiting for has come."
El-Hadary reminisced about his triumphs in his 159 games with the Pharaohs, expressing his pride in winning the Africa Cup of Nations four times in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010. The former Egypt skipper was named the tournament’s best goalie on the four occasions.
His participation in this year’s World Cup in Russia was the final stop for him in his glittering international career.
"My biggest dream was to play at the World Cup and thank God for helping me write the name of my country in history by being the oldest player to ever take part in the tournament," El-Hadary said.
The popular guardian moved to Ismaily in a free transfer last month after finishing his one-season contract with Saudi outfit Al-Taawoun this summer.
El-Hadary’s international retirement came just days after Javier Aguirre was unveiled as Egypt’s new coach, succeeding Hector Cuper who had a disappointing World Cup campaign.