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    Categories: On the GoSport

Egypt’s El-Hadary, 45, retires from international football

Essam El Hadary has retired from international football at the age of 45.

The Egyptian football legend was handed his debut in 1996 and went on to play in 159 matches in a career that spanned over two decades.

El-Hadary made history at the 2018 World Cup in Russia as he became the oldest player to feature in the mundial.

He was in goal for Egypt in their last group game against Saudi Arabia. The ex-Al Ahly goalkeeper grabbed the headlines for saving a penalty kick during the tie.

“Everything has a beginning and an end. After a long time of thinking, I decided to retire from playing internationally,” El-Hadary said in a statement.

“Today, 22 years, 4 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 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 has come.

“My biggest dream was to play at the World Cup and thank God for helping me write the name of my country in the history being the most-aged player ever at the tournament.”

The player moved to Ismaily on a free transfer last month after finishing his one-season contract with Saudi outfit Al-Taawoun.

He announced his retirement days after the unveiling of Javier Aguirre who succeeds Hector Cuper following a disappointing World Cup campaign.

El-Hadary won the Africa Cup of Nations four times; in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010. He was named the best goalkeeper in the tournament four times.