Gábor Király

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The native form of this personal name is Király Gábor. This article uses the Western name order.
Gábor Király
Gabor Kiraly 1860 2010.JPG
Király training with TSV 1860 München in 2011
Personal information
Full name Gábor Ferenc Király[1]
Date of birth (1976-04-01) 1 April 1976 (age 39)[1]
Place of birth Szombathely, Hungary
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[1]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Szombathelyi Haladás
Number 1
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–1997 Haladás 96 (0)
1997–2004 Hertha BSC 198 (0)
2004–2007 Crystal Palace 104 (0)
2006 West Ham United (loan) 0 (0)
2006–2007 Aston Villa (loan) 5 (0)
2007–2009 Burnley 27 (0)
2009 Bayer Leverkusen (loan) 0 (0)
2009–2014 1860 Munich 168 (0)
2014–2015 Fulham 3 (0)
2015– Haladás 19 (0)
National team
1996–1997 Hungary U21 10 (0)
1998– Hungary 101 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:17, 5 October 2015 (UTC).
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12 November 2015

Gábor Ferenc Király (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈɡaːbor ˈfɛrɛnt͡s 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 Fulham and has had loan spells with West Ham United, and Aston Villa. In 2015, he joined his hometown team Szombathelyi Haladás. Since making his international debut against Austria in 1998, Király has amassed over 100 caps for Hungary.

Király is recognizable for wearing a pair of grey tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts in almost every match he plays,[2] which he says he chose for comfort after playing on rough surfaces.[3]

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Born in Szombathely, Király began his career with local club Szombathelyi Haladás in 1993, moving to German Bundesliga club Hertha BSC in 1997.

Hertha BSC[edit]

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[edit]

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.[4]

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.

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.[5] Following Sørensen and Taylor's return to fitness, he was allowed to return to Palace on 12 January 2007.

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.


Király joined Burnley on 30 May 2007 after being released by Crystal Palace.[6]

Bayer Leverkusen[edit]

In January 2009, Király left Burnley on loan to Bayer Leverkusen as cover for their injured second choice keeper.[7]

1860 Munich[edit]

In June 2009, Király was released by Burnley at the end of his contract alongside Steve Jones and Alan Mahon.[8] On 3 June 2009 signed a three-year contract with TSV 1860 München.

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.[9][10]


On 28 August 2014, it was announced that Király had signed for the English Championship side Fulham.[11][12] 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.

International career[edit]

Király made his debut for the Hungarian national team 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 12 November 2015, he earned his 100th cap for Hungary in a 1–0 win away to Norway in the first leg of their UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying play-off in Oslo.[13][14] He was the second Hungarian to reach the milestone, after József Bozsik of the Golden Team.[15] Turning 40 in April 2016, Király would set a new record as being the oldest player to feature in a European Championship, breaking Lothar Matthäus' record.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Hugman, Barry J. (ed) (2008). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2008–09. Mainstream. ISBN 978-1-84596-324-8. 
  2. ^ "Kiraly: So much has changed". FIFA.com. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3320354/Crystal-Palace-cult-hero-Gabor-Kiraly-oldest-player-feature-Euros-s-story-tracksuit.html
  4. ^ "Gábor Király". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "Man Utd 2–1 Aston Villa". BBC News. 7 January 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Burnley recruit goalkeeper Kiraly". BBC Sport. 30 May 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2007. 
  7. ^ "Kiraly Looks Set for Loan to Bayer Leverkusen". Vital Burnley. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Three Released As Retained List Announced". www.BurnleyFootballClub.com (Burnley FC). 1 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009. 
  9. ^ "tz.de Löwen-Spieler feierten nach FCK-Pleite bis in die Nacht" (in German). Retrieved 2014-08-11. 
  10. ^ "dieblaue24.com: Party und Lästereien! Ein Taxifahrer verpfiff die Löwen-Profis" (in German). Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  11. ^ "Gabor Kiraly to join Fulham in London". Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  12. ^ "Gabor Kiraly: Fulham sign ex-Crystal Palace goalkeeper". BBC Sport. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Norway 0-1 Hungary". BBC Sport. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Kleinheisler gives Hungary win in Norway". UEFA.com. 12 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "Europeo, Norvegia-Ungheria 0-1 Kleinheisler condanna i padroni di casa" [European, Norway 0-1 Hungary: Kleinheisler condemns the hosts]. La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 12 November 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 

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