Essam El Hadary

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Essam El Hadary
Essam El-Hadary.jpg
El Hadary with Egypt at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name Essam El Hadary[1]
Date of birth (1973-01-15) 15 January 1973 (age 47)
Place of birth Kafr El Battikh, Damietta, Egypt
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[1]
Playing position(s) Goalkeeper
Youth career
1991–1993 Damietta
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–1996 Damietta 58 (0)
1996–2008 Al Ahly 510 (1)
2008–2009 Sion 32 (0)
2009–2010 Ismaily 20 (0)
2010–2011 Zamalek 4 (0)
2011–2013 Al Merreikh 92 (0)
2012Al Ittihad Alexandria (loan) 1 (0)
2013–2014 Wadi Degla 14 (0)
2014–2015 Ismaily 38 (0)
2015–2017 Wadi Degla 57 (0)
2017–2018 Al-Taawoun 25 (1)
2018–2019 Ismaily 15 (0)
2019–2020 Nogoom 3 (0)
National team
1996–2018 Egypt 159[a] (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Essam Kamal Tawfiq El Hadary (Arabic: عصام الدين كمال توفيق الحضري‎; born 15 January 1973) is a retired Egyptian footballer who played as a goalkeeper. Nicknamed the "High Dam",[3][4] he has spent the largest portion of his club career with Al Ahly, with whom he won eight Egyptian Premier League titles, four Egypt Cups, four Egyptian Super Cups, four CAF Champions League titles, three CAF Super Cups, one Arab Club Champions Cup, and two Arab Super Cups.

Third on the list of all-time appearances for Egypt entering the 2018 World Cup,[2] El Hadary has made over 150 international appearances for his nation since his debut in 1996. He has won the Africa Cup of Nations four times, and was named the tournament's best goalkeeper on three occasions.[4] In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, at the age of 45 years and 161 days, he became the oldest player in history to play in a World Cup match.[5]

Club career[edit]

El Hadary was born in Kafr al-Battikh, Damietta.[6] His father was a craftsman who owned his own workshop making furniture. El Hadary took up playing football without his parent's knowledge, washing his muddy clothes in a local river after playing in order to avoid them knowing. He was spotted by his local football team before being signed by Second Division club Damietta at age 17. In his first training session, he was offered goalkeeping gloves, having previously never worn a pair, but refused to wear them and would run the 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) to training everyday.[4] He made his first team debut for Damietta in 1993 at the age of 20, and after two seasons signed a pre-contract with Egyptian champions Al Ahly.[4] In 12 years at the Cairo club he won eight Egyptian Premier League titles, four Egypt Cups, four Egyptian Super Cups, four CAF Champions League titles, three CAF Super Cups, one Arab Club Champions Cup, and two Arab Super Cups.

Swiss club FC Sion announced that they had signed El Hadary on a four-year contract in February 2008, despite objections from his club, Al Ahly, due to the fact that he was still under contract with them.[7][8] El Hadary was fined and suspended by Al Ahly,[9] before world governing body FIFA gave permission for Sion to complete the deal.[10][11]

In 2009, FIFA suspended El Hadary and penalized Sion,[12] even though he had already decided to return to Egypt.[13] In July, while his suspension was stayed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),[14] El Hadary moved to Egyptian Premier League side Ismaily.[15] In 2010, his four month suspension was upheld by the CAS,[16] and in January a Swiss civil court upheld the ban and fines and additionally ordered him to pay FIFA's court costs.[17][18]

In December 2010, after a brief stint with Zamalek SC, El Hadary moved to Sudanese club Al-Merreikh.[19] After boycotting practices due to a pay dispute, he was loaned to Al-Ittihad Alexandria,[20] but after a stadium riot in Port Said led to the suspension of the 2011–12 Egyptian Premier League season he returned to Sudan again.[21][22] After his contract there expired, he returned to Egypt, playing for Wadi Degla in 2014,[23] moving back to Ismaily in 2014,[24] and returning again to Wadi Degla in 2015.[25] Throughout this period, he continued to be acclaimed one of the best footballers ever to play for Egypt or anywhere in Africa; in 2013 he was included in Bleacher Report's "50 Greatest African Players of All Time" list, ranked number 6.[26] In 2017, an argument with a teammate lead to El Hadary being thrown off the Wadi Degla team briefly;[27][28] in June, he signed for Al-Taawoun to become the first foreign goalkeeper to play in Saudi Arabia.[29][30]

On 2 July 2018, it was confirmed that El Hadary had joined Ismaily for the third time in his career.[31] On 28 January 2019, El Hadary signed with Nogoom;[32] however, he left the club following their relegation at the end of the season.[33]

International career[edit]

El Hadary has represented Egypt over 150 times since his international debut in 1996, winning the African Cup of Nations four times with his country. He was chosen as the best goalkeeper in the 2006 African Cup of Nations, held in homeland Egypt, in the 2008 African Cup of Nations, held in Ghana and for the 2010 African Cup of Nations, held in Angola.[34][35]

In January 2013 his agent tweeted that El Hadary had retired from international football after being benched for a run of games, being the 23rd most capped international player in history and also the player with most African Cup of Nations titles. He returned to the national team in a match against Bosnia Herzegovina on 5 March 2014, winning 2–0.

El Hadary saving a penalty shot from Saudi Arabia's Fahad Al-Muwallad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

On 4 June 2016, El Hadary played the full 90 minutes in a 2–0 win against Tanzania which secured Egypt's qualification for 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. On 17 January 2017, two days after his 44th birthday, he became the oldest player to ever appear in an Africa Cup of Nations match after replacing Ahmed El-Shenawy in Egypt's first match of the tournament.[36] On 1 February 2017, El Hadary saved two penalties as Egypt defeated Burkina Faso 4–3 in a penalty shoot-out to advance to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Final.[37]

In June 2018, at the age of 45, he was named in Egypt's 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.[1] He was the oldest of all players selected for the tournament, beating the record set by Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón in the previous edition of the tournament.[38] On 25 June, El Hadary was handed a start in Egypt's final group match against Saudi Arabia to become the oldest player ever to play in and debut at a World Cup at the age of 45 years and 161 days, once again breaking Mondragón's record of 43 years and three days. El Hadary stopped a penalty kick in the first half of the match, but subsequently conceded from a second penalty just before half time; his team eventually lost the game 1–2 after conceding a late goal in stoppage time.[39][40][41][42]

On 7 August 2018, El Hadary announced his international retirement at the age of 45, having made 159 international appearances for Egypt.[43][44] In November 2019, the FIFA World Football Museum exhibited El Hadary's gloves of his World Cup match for being the tournament's oldest player and first African goalkeeper ever to save a penalty.[45]

Career statistics[edit]


Year Apps Goals
1996 2 0
1997 9 0
1998 4 0
1999 6 0
2000 3 0
2001 6 0
2002 14 0
2003 3 0
2004 6 0
2005 5 0
2006 11 0
2007 9 0
2008 18 0
2009 16 0
2010 11 0
2011 2 0
2012 13[b] 0
2013 1 0
2014 4[c] 0
2015 0 0
2016 4 0
2017 9 0
2018 3 0
Total 159[a] 0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "2018 FIFA World Cup Russia: List of players: Egypt" (PDF). FIFA. 17 June 2018. p. 9.
  2. ^ a b c d e Adel, Hazem (19 April 2018). "Egypt - Record International Players". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  3. ^ Sief, Ahmed (8 October 2017). "Hadry will be oldest goalkeeper in the World Cup". Egypt Today. Retrieved 22 June 2018. Essam el-Hadary, goalkeeper of the national team, is preparing for a new record to add to his records in football, that “the high dam” will be the [oldest] goalkeeper in the history of the World Cup.
  4. ^ a b c d Yousef, Ahmad (30 May 2018). "Essam El-Hadary: Egypt's 45-year-old goalkeeper stands on brink of history". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Milla, Zoff, El Hadary & the oldest players in World Cup history". Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  6. ^ "أهالى كفر البطيخ بدمياط يدشنون مبادرة عصام الحضرى يرجع الأهلى" (in Arabic). Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Ahly fume over El-Hadary move". BBC Sport. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Sion unveil Egypt's El-Hadary". BBC Sport. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Battle for El Hadary continues". BBC Sport. 11 March 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  10. ^ "FIFA rule on El Hadary dispute" (Press release). FIFA. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  11. ^ "El Hadary free to play for Sion". BBC Sport. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Fifa takes El-Hadary decision". BBC Sport. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  13. ^ "El Hadary banned for four months". BBC Sport. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  14. ^ "El Hadary's Fifa ban blocked". BBC Sport. 7 July 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  15. ^ Hassan, Amro (20 July 2009). "Ismaili conclude Al-Hadari deal". FilGoal. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  16. ^ "El Hadary ban confirmed by CAS". BBC Sport. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  17. ^ "FIFA statement on Swiss Federal Court ruling" (Press release). FIFA. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  18. ^ "El Hadary ordered to pay Fifa". BBC Sport. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2018. Switzerland's supreme court has ordered Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary to pay Fifa $12,500 in legal costs over his failed appeal against a ban for breaking his contract.
  19. ^ "El-Hadary joins Sudanese side Al-Merreikh". Al-Ahram. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  20. ^ El Rasoul, Ahmed Abd (18 January 2012). "Egypt's Ittihad to sign Merriekh's goalie El-Hadary". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  21. ^ Mohamed, Mahmoud (5 February 2012). "Egypt's El-Hadary back to Sudan after Port Said violence". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Egypt keeper El-Hadary officially rejoins Sudanese Merriekh". Al-Ahram. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  23. ^ Elassal, Mahmoud (16 December 2013). "Veteran keeper El-Hadary joins Wadi Degla: Agent". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  24. ^ Zaazou, Omar (25 July 2014). "Veteran Egypt keeper El-Hadary joins Ismaily". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  25. ^ El Rasoul, Ahmed Abd (13 August 2016). "Egypt's veteran keeper El-Hadary extends contract at Wadi Degla". Al-Ahram. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  26. ^ Dove, Ed (25 September 2013). "The 50 Greatest African Players of All Time". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Wadi Degla offer Egypt goalkeeper El-Hadary for transfer". Al-Ahram. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2018. El-Hadary was dismissed from the Wadi Degla squad for the game against Ahly in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday for misconduct after he quarreled with the team's second choice goalie Khaled Walid during trainings.
  28. ^ "Essam El Hadary: Egypt hero denies slapping Wadi Degla team-mate". BBC Sport. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2018. Wadi Degla president Maged Samy has suggested he will transfer El Hadary.... El Hadary said he later received a call from Samy, who told him that he could resume training after Thursday's game, but did not dismiss the possibility of a transfer.
  29. ^ "Egypt's evergreen keeper El-Hadary joins Saudi's Al-Taawoun". Al-Ahram. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  30. ^ "Egypt's Essam El Hadary moves to Saudi Arabia". BBC Sport. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  31. ^ Abdallah, Salma (2 July 2018). "Egypt's veteran keeper Essam El-Hadary rejoins Ismaily for third stint". KingFut. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  32. ^ "OFFICIAL: Nogoom FC announce signing of Essam El-Hadary". 28 January 2019.
  33. ^ "بعد الهبوط للقسم الثانى.. عصام الحضرى يرحل عن النجوم". (in Arabic). 13 May 2019.
  34. ^ "El Hadary edges closer to Premier League as Newcastle and Wigan watch veteran keeper's amazing display". MailOnline. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  35. ^ "Essam El-Hadary – Century of International Appearances". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  36. ^ "Africa Cup of Nations: Mali 0-0 Egypt". BBC Sport. 13 November 2017. Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest player at an Africa Cup of Nations tournament as he kept a clean sheet in their draw against Mali
  37. ^ Singer, Jonny (1 February 2017). "Burkina Faso 1–1 Egypt (AET – Egypt win 4–3 on penalties): 44-year-old keeper Essam El-Hadary the hero as Pharaohs reach AFCON final". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2 February 2017. It had to be him. Essam El-Hadary is the Africa Cup of Nations’ oldest ever player. Its most successful ever player. And now he is going to yet another final thanks to his own penalty heroics.
  38. ^ Pimiento, Juan (1 June 2018). "From oldest player to most World Cups played, the records at stake in Russia 2018". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  39. ^ Neil Johnston (25 June 2018). "Injury-time goal gives Saudis first World Cup win since 1994". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  40. ^ "Egypt's Essam El-Hadary now World Cup's oldest-ever player, saves penalty". ESPN FC. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  41. ^ Barry Glendenning (25 June 2018). "Saudi Arabia 2-1 Egypt". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  42. ^ Belal Mostafa (25 June 2018). "El Hadary makes World Cup History". FIFA. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  43. ^ "Essam El Hadary finally calls it quits". ESPN FC. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  44. ^ "Essam El-Hadary: World Cup's oldest player retires from Egypt duty". BBC SPORT. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  45. ^ "Egypt's Record-Goalkeeper Essam El Hadary: 'The FIFA Museum brings the history of football to life'". 6 November 2019.
  46. ^ Essam El Hadary at


  1. ^ a b "157 appearances according to some sources, as FIFA, unlike the Egyptian Football Association, does not recognise two appearances El Hadary made in a 2–0 friendly away win over Qatar in Doha on 28 December 2012, and in a 1–0 friendly home win over Kenya in Aswan on 30 August 2014.[2]
  2. ^ "12 appearances according to some sources, as, unlike the Egyptian FA, FIFA does not recognise an appearance El Hadary made in a 2–0 friendly away win over Qatar in Doha on 28 December 2012.[2]
  3. ^ "3 appearances according to some sources, as, unlike the Egyptian FA, FIFA does not recognise an appearance El Hadary made in a 1–0 friendly home win over Kenya in Aswan on 30 August 2014.[2]

External links[edit]