Egypt legend Essam El Hadary eager to make World Cup history

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Essam El-Hadary
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The 45-year-old shot-stopper is on the verge of becoming the oldest footballer to play at the global tournament

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary is relishing the opportunity of making his maiden appearance in the Fifa World Cup, which would see him become the oldest player to ever grace the competition.

The Pharaohs returned to the global stage after a 28-year absence and have been pitched with Russia, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay in Group A.

The Al Taawon shot-stopper who has won four Africa Cup of Nations titles is set for his first outing in the quadrennial showpiece.

El Hadary is also aiming to unseat Faryd Mondragon - who played for Colombia in Brazil 2014 at age of 43 years and 3 days - as the oldest man to play at the World Cup.

"I'm very happy to play at the World Cup, and that is a message to all footballers and others around the world, that you should believe in your dreams and fight to make them come true," El-Hadary told BBCSport.

"My age is 45, but for me, this is just a number on paper. I train hard every day, I don't know what the word 'impossible' means. I will keep fighting until the World Cup to have the chance to play and defend my homeland colours.

"My father who passed away told me that his dream is to watch me playing at a World Cup and I want to make my dad proud.

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"I've won many titles, but I have not played at a World Cup and this is the dream I want to make true, that is my main objective."

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On the oppositions his country will face in the group phase, El hadary said: “All the teams in our group are very strong. Saudi Arabia is an Arabic team and our matches with them will be very interesting, so it will not be easy.

"Russia will play in front of their fans and in their grounds, and when you talk about Uruguay you talk about an amazing team and big names like Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez, so it will not be easy at all."