Kiraly training with TSV 1860 München in 2011
|Full name||Gábor Ferenc Király|
|Date of birth||1 April 1976|
|Place of birth||Szombathely, Hungary|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|2006||→ West Ham United (loan)||0||(0)|
|2006–2007||→ Aston Villa (loan)||5||(0)|
|2009||→ Bayer Leverkusen (loan)||0||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:37, 16 August 2015 (UTC).
Gábor Ferenc Király (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈɡaːbor ˈkiraːj]; born 1 April 1976) is a Hungarian professional footballer who plays for Szombathelyi Haladás and the Hungary national team as a goalkeeper.
In his 22-year-long playing career, Király spent most of his career with German club Hertha BSC with whom he signed in 1997, going on to appear in 198 official games. Apart from Hertha BSC, Király has previously played for English clubs Crystal Palace, Burnley and has had loan spells with West Ham United, and Aston Villa. In 2014, he signed for Fulham. Király is recognizable for wearing a pair of tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts in almost every match he plays.
Since making his international debut against Austria in 1998, Király has amassed 95 caps for Hungary.
At Hertha, he was initially the second-choice keeper, but after a streak of seven matches without a win, he was chosen over the first-choice goalkeeper Christian Fiedler for Hertha's home match against 1. FC Köln on 28 September 1997 in which they managed their first Bundesliga victory that season. He subsequently became the first-choice keeper and Fiedler did not appear in the Bundesliga for more than two years, until February 2000, when Király missed seven league matches due to an injury. He also appeared in 10 UEFA Champions League matches for Hertha in the 1999–2000 season of the competition.
However, after Hans Meyer was named the new Hertha coach in the winter break of the 2003–04 Bundesliga season, Király lost his place in the starting line-up and Fiedler was named the first-choice keeper after spending most of the previous six years on the bench. Király was then told his contract would only be renewed if he took a pay cut. In the spring of 2004, he only played the last 14 minutes of Hertha's final Bundesliga match of the season, against 1. FC Köln; the same club against whom he had made his Bundesliga debut.
Crystal Palace made Király their first signing for the 2004–05 season; but also signed Argentine goalkeeper Julián Speroni later that pre-season and it was he who was initially installed as the first-choice keeper. Király made his debut for Palace in the League Cup game at home to Hartlepool United where his performance, along with the poor form of Speroni, resulted in his promotion to the first choice in Palace goal. He stayed in the first team for over 12 months before being rested over the Christmas period in 2005, making 32 Premier League appearances before Palace were relegated back to the Championship following the 2004–05 season. After the rest, he went straight back into the Palace side, and kept his place for the remainder of the 2005–06 season in which he made 43 appearances in the Championship.
On 18 May 2006, Király made a transfer request. With the signing of Scott Flinders, it seemed he would leave Crystal Palace and his chances of securing a move to the Premier League seemed to increase on 30 May, when he impressed for Hungary in their 3–1 defeat to England, saving a penalty by Frank Lampard in the process. However, Bob Dowie, Palace's director of football, revealed that the club had received no offers for the keeper's services, and thus he started a third season at Palace.
New manager Peter Taylor installed Király as his number-one choice in goal, with Flinders as his backup, but later on in the season Flinders was recalled from a loan spell and replaced Király in the starting line-up. However, Flinders only played two games, conceding seven goals and giving Király a quick return to the first team.
At Crystal Palace, he was very popular with the fans of the opponents as they regularly sang "Tracksuit from Matalan" in his direction, a reference to his grey tracksuit bottoms that he always wears.
West Ham United
Király had a two-week loan spell at Premier League side West Ham United from mid-November to early December 2006 in which he did not make an appearance, spending three matches on the bench as an unused substitute.
He then returned to Palace, but almost immediately left for another loan spell at Aston Villa for one month, following injuries to Villa's regular keepers Thomas Sørensen and Stuart Taylor. At Villa, Király eventually managed a return to playing Premier League football after an eighteen month absence following Palace's relegation. He was given his Villa debut on 16 December 2006 in their 1–0 defeat to Bolton Wanderers at Villa Park. The last match in his loan spell at Villa was their third-round FA Cup match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 7 January 2007. After an otherwise strong performance, Kiraly's late error gifted Manchester United a 2–1 victory. Following Sørensen and Taylor's return to fitness, he was allowed to return to Palace on 12 January 2007.
Back to Palace
By the end of January 2007, he made a return in the Palace goal, with his first league match being a goalless draw away at Sunderland on 30 January 2007. Király continued in the team until the end of the season, when Speroni stepped in with three games remaining. After the last game, Taylor announced that Gábor had left the club in the week before the match.
After the second match of the 2014-15 season Király was suspended to the second squad along with his teammates Vitus Eicher, Daniel Adlung, Yannick Stark and captain Julian Weigl. Király had assaulted Gary Kagelmacher during a match, while the other four players had been out drinking late at night and were overheard talking negatively about the club.
On 28 August 2014, it was announced that Király signed for the English Championship side Fulham. In September 2014, against Reading, Király made his Fulham debut, and was in action multiple times, but the pressure inevitably told, with two goals against him within an hour. Király tipped a header from home substitute Pavel Pogrebnyak - a former Fulham player - against the crossbar and Jake Taylor drove narrowly wide from distance. But Fulham could not hold out at 2-0 until the end. In the 85th minute, substitute Nick Blackman ran through, went by Király and slotted the ball home.
Király appeared in 93 international matches for the Hungarian national team since making his debut against Austria in 1998. After only four minutes, he saved a penalty from Austria's all-time top scorer Toni Polster, and Hungary won 3-2. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying, Király was the only player in the Hungarian squad to appear in all of their ten qualifying matches. He had not played for the national team since the embarrassing 2–1 defeat by Malta on 11 October 2006, but was called up to the squad for the World Cup Qualifiers against Sweden and Portugal in September 2009 and has remained in the squad despite being second choice behind Gábor Babos.
On 11 August 2010, Király started for Hungary in a friendly international against England at Wembley and made some impressive saves in a narrow 2–1 defeat, with both England's goals scored by captain Steven Gerrard.
He is still a member of the national squad. It often varies whether he is in the starting lineup or a substitute. He played in most of the games for qualifying for the 2012 Euro cup. He also played in 2013: vs Romania on March 22 in a 2-2 draw at home, vs Turkey on March 26 in a 1-1 draw away, vs Andorra on October 15 in a 2-0 win at home (each in World Cup 2014 qualifying). Later he played in Euro cup 2016 qualifying, playing impressively in spite of his age against Romania (1-1 draw away) and Finland (1-0 win at home). In 2015, he started for the first match of the year for the national team, in which Hungary tied with Greece 0-0 (also Euro cup 2016 qualifying). Ever since Pál Dárdai became the head coach of the team, he is the first choice goalkeeper in more important matches.
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- "Gábor Király". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- "Man Utd 2–1 Aston Villa". BBC News. 7 January 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
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- "Three Released As Retained List Announced". www.BurnleyFootballClub.com (Burnley FC). 1 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- "tz.de Löwen-Spieler feierten nach FCK-Pleite bis in die Nacht" (in German). Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "dieblaue24.com: Party und Lästereien! Ein Taxifahrer verpfiff die Löwen-Profis" (in German). Retrieved 2014-08-12.
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- "Gabor Kiraly: Fulham sign ex-Crystal Palace goalkeeper". BBC Sport. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- Gábor Király profile at magyarfutball.hu
- Gábor Király career statistics at Soccerbase
- Gábor Király at fussballdaten.de (German)