El Hadary, grand old man of Egypt
Moscow, June 14: Egypt’s 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary says he feels like he’s 20 again.
That’s a dream combination: A 20-year-old with the vast experience gained from a career stretching nearly three decades.
“I have dealt with three generations of players, each one of them was different,” El Hadary said in a recent television interview. “But this generation is just great. People go on about me being 45, but I feel I am like my teammates — like I am 20.”
El Hadary isn’t assured of getting any game time for Egypt in the World Cup in Russia but if he does, he’ll make history as the oldest person to play in a World Cup.
El Hadary has been showing full commitment to earning a starting spot.
El Hadary, who enjoys celebrity status in Egypt, has rarely spoken about the age record, preferring instead to focus on the ambitions of the Pharaohs in their first World Cup since 1990. It’s a return that has given many of Egypt’s 100 million people a welcome reprieve amid harsh economic conditions.
Being in the World Cup is a particularly special occasion for El Hadary. “I have a goal that I have dreamt of all my life: That we qualify for the second round,” he said. —AP
Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary at a press conference on Thursday, eve of their match against Uruguay. —