Crystal Palace cult hero Gabor Kiraly and his famous grey sweatpants retire aged 43

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GABOR KIRALY has hung up his sweatpants – literally – after retiring from football at the age of 43.

The Hungarian goalkeeper was a fan favourite for his unusual attire during spells with Crystal Palace, Burnley and Fulham.

 Kiraly says he opted for the sweatpants for comfort reasons

EPA

Kiraly says he opted for the sweatpants for comfort reasons

On Thursday, Kiraly confirmed the end of a 25-year career that began in 1993 with hometown club Szombathelyi Haladas, who he later rejoined at the end of his career.

His big break came in 1997 when moving to Hertha Berlin, as the second-choice keeper at first before breaking through and even appearing in the Champions League for the German club.

A move to Crystal Palace followed for English football fans’ first glimpse of his grey tracksuit bottoms, and he rapidly became a cult hero.

Stints on the bench at West Ham United, Aston Villa and Bayer Leverkusen came alongside a two-year spell at Burnley.

I fought with honour, I always wanted to reach the top and I adapted myself to every mission humbly.

Kiraly on his career

It was back in Germany that Kiraly again found regular first-team action, in the second-tier with 1860 Munich.

A brief return to England saw the sweatpants back in the Championship with Fulham in 2014 before he saw out his playing days in Hungary.

On the international scene, the goalkeeper earned 108 caps for the Hungarian national team, retiring after featuring at Euro 2016.

Writing on his website alongside a video of him hanging up his trackies, Kiraly told fans: “I thank football for teaching me everything and for making me a better person.

“I fought with honour, I always wanted to reach the top and I adapted myself to every mission humbly.

“I thank my family and my friends for always standing next to me and supporting me. I couldn’t have completed this fantastic journey, which lasted 26 years.

“This fantastic journey has come to an end!”

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