The goalkeeper of Egypt dethroned a Latin American, the Colombian Faryd Mondragón, as the oldest player to compete in a World Cup
On the third date of Group A of Russia 2018, more exactly on June 25, 2018, a new chapter was written in the golden and magical history of the World Cup. That day, Essam El-Hadary became the oldest goalkeeper to play in a World Cup. The goalkeeper started in the game between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who were eliminated to that match. El-Hadary played the 90 minutes and could not avoid the defeat of his team at the hands of the Arabs 2-1, according to the official website of FIFA.
Read in english: Essam El-Hadary: El jugador más veterano que compitió en un Mundial
The Egyptian National Team, which did not attend a World Cup since Italy 1990, had to bid farewell prematurely. However, a better feeling was left to the goalkeeper, especially after the great sacrifices he had to make. To achieve a place among the 23 chosen by coach Héctor Cúper, El-Hadary had to lose weight in record time. According to El Clarín, Karim Hafez (teammate in Egypt) said that the goalkeeper was going through a hard soccer moment to the point of thinking about retirement. However, he crossed paths with a coach who at that time directed the Wadi Degla Sporting Club, the first division of Egyptian soccer, who helped him to lose eight kilos in just 21 days.
After that he recovered his level and, in addition to affirming himself in said club, he returned to be in the orbit of Cúper. In this way, he won his fourth African Cup of Nations two years later and also became a standard in the qualifying rounds to achieve the pass to the World Cup in Russia after 28 years of absence.
However, El-Hadary had to work even harder to reach a spot in the World Cup, as the holder had already been handed to Ahmed El-Shenawy. The veteran goalkeeper waited patiently until the third round of the group stage when the opportunity that he had expected so much came, Vanguardia Liberal explained.
You can also read: These Latin American athletes changed sports for politics
Quoting again what was said by Hafez, El-Hadary was an example for his teammates in training. "He came to work like an animal two hours before everyone else!," said the right-field player, in testimonies collected by Infobae. With the record reap in Russia 2018, now the Egyptian can retire calmly from professional soccer, although the decision has not yet been made and for now will continue to dazzle with their saves and leadership in Al-Taawoun FC of the League of Saudi Arabia.
El-Hadary is now in the Top 5 of the most veteran players in playing a World Cup, along with fellow Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón, Cameroonian Roger Milla, Northern Ireland's Pat Jennings and Englishman Peter Shilton. According to the As media, "the ten most veteran players who played a World Cup are: El-Hadary (45 years and 161 days), Mondragón (43 years and 3 days), Milla (42 years and 39 days), Jennings (41 years) and 0 days), Shilton (40 years and 292 days), Zoff (40 years and 133 days), Boumnijel (40 years and 71 days), Leighton (39 years and 334 days), James (39 years and 330 days) and Labruna (39 years and 260 days) ".
LatinAmerican Post | Yeinson Fajardo Bohórquez
Translated from "Essam El-Hadary: El jugador más veterano que ha jugado en el Mundial"