Essam El-Hadary – FIFA World Cup’s oldest ever player – announces retirement

Egypt’s veteran goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary has announced his retirement from international football.

The 45-year-old wrote history in the 2018 FIFA World Cup staged in Russia, by becoming the oldest ever player to feature in the competition.

He played in The Pharaoh’s last group stage game of the competition, against Saudi Arabia where they lost 2-1.

In total, he made 159 appearances for Egypt.

El-Hadary overtook Colombia’s Faryd Mondragn, who played the last five minutes of a group game in Brazil four years ago, at the age of 43 years and three days.

“After 22 years, four months and 12 days, I saw it as the best moment to hang up my gloves,” El-Hadary said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

“I’m proud to have played with the national team in 159 internationals, participating in unprecedented achievements.

“I hope 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 has won the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) four times, and was named the tournament’s best goalkeeper on three occasions, in 2006, 2008 and 2010.