Goalkeepers have always been looked upon the most probable ancients since a long time. This, simply because one’s mental strength and wisdom can compensate for the lack of physical exuberance. The record for the World cup’s longevity is currently held by Faryd Mondragon who played in goal for Colombia, in the 2014 World cup but that record is all set to be broken by Egypt’s Essam El Hadary who at the age of 45 is about to stand in goal for his nation at the world’s biggest festival. He’s earned 156 caps for his country taking the field since 1993. El Hadary is about to outstrip the record holder of the oldest player to play in a World cup, and not by a matter of days, but a matter of years. In 2014, he was already regarded as an all-time World cup great when Didier Drogba called him one of the best opponents he has faced, but he knows that when he starts between the sticks during Egypt’s opener against Uruguay, he will face the biggest global attention of his long career and he seems like he knows what’s coming.
— Andy Edgeworth (@RogerDismal) June 4, 2018
But life for the record breaker wasn’t all sunshine and roses. He’s had to go through a lot of injuries and his hands are a testament to that. His hands look like the hands of a man who’s worked for longer than twice his age and his knuckles are where they shouldn’t be in a regular being. But all this he said was to achieve the best he can and do all he could for the beautiful game. He admits he hasn’t spent enough time with his wife and children during his long and grueling career.
During his long career, he’s achieved almost everything, everything but one dream. He’s won 37 trophies for his club and country and has been named goalkeeper of the tournament thrice at the African cup of nations, but his goal was always the most elusive of them all, the World Cup. After 28 years of heartbreak and disappointment, he is now the backbone of Egypt’s first world cup appearance since 1990. His gloves, a part of his body now making his hands seem unbroken, stopping ball after ball with hardly a sound, he seems to have a sense of belief in himself, and his team and the fans, a belief that they can make their country proud and maybe for one last time in his long career, see the green in front of him in the biggest stage of them all.