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Sweatpants-Rocking Keeper Gábor Király Has Always Been Our Soccer Dad

Photo via AP

At 40 years of age, goalkeeper Gábor Király became the oldest player to ever appear in a European Championship game today when took the field for Hungary’s match against Austria. You might think that his attire from today’s game—particularly, those conspicuous gray sweatpants seen above—was a knowing wink at his transition from Cool Young Soccer Guy to Lame Old Dad. But in fact, Király has been dressing like a Lame Old Dad—the kind who grabs some ratty old sweats he doesn’t mind getting muddy before he and his son head out into the backyard to practice penalty kicks—for time immemorial.

Before we take a gander at some of Király’s looks over the decades, we should find out why the keeper is so attached to his sweatpants. Thankfully, we know the answer. From Sky Sports:

“I’m a goalie, not a top model!” he told Hungarian publication Lo Journal Francophone de Budapest.

“It’s essentially a question of comfort. I’ve played on clay or grass that’s been frozen in winter; it makes your legs hurt when you fall so jogging bottoms seemed obvious.

“I always take a size above to facilitate movement.

“I tried shorts during my spells in Germany and England but it didn’t suit me. The end result is more important than your look.”


And more, from the Guardian:

These antics may not be a part of his game any more but he is still wearing the jogging bottoms. Initially he wore black ones – he liked having tracksuit trousers on rough surfaces – until before one game Haladas did not have any clean pairs. So Kiraly put on grey ones, the team won, and they did not lose in the next eight games. Haladas stayed in the first division and the goalkeeper stuck with the colour. The original grey pair – used well over 100 times – is hanging in his wardrobe with plenty of tears and holes.

“Some of my clubs had to ask their manufacturer to make the grey bottoms for me because they did not have it in their collection but at 1860 Munich they were sold in the club shop as Kiraly’s jogging bottoms,” he said. “The most important thing is that they should be loose, preferably one size bigger.”

Now, to the pictures:

Király dives for a ball heading toward Hertha Berlin’s goal in a game against Hamburg in 1999. The sweatpants are bright and fit him snugly, especially when compared to his tent-like shirt. Photo via AP
From 2000, still with Hertha. The dirt streaks imply that he had a lot to work to do that day. Photo via Getty
From 2002. This must have been when he realized he preferred a baggier fit. Photo via Getty
In a 2002 international match against Sweden, Király takes a tumble after a challege with Zlatan Ibrahimović. A good view of how he tucks the bottoms into his socks. Photo via AP
Same year, back with Hertha. He and his pants look pretty beat up. Photo via Getty
Same year. Király’s deceptively bulky legs apparently aren’t enough to get Bayern’s Michael Ballack off his game for the PK. Photo via AP
From 2003. Wonder if the sweats keep his leg muscles warm and allow him to reach his peak elevation when jumping. Photo via AP
From 2003, gray-on-gray. Photo via AP
The national team must’ve liked Hertha’s gray-on-gray look so much that they adopted it in 2004. Photo via Getty
At Crystal Palace in 2005, but still all gray everything. Photo via Getty
See, make a great save, and you still wind up with a great picture, even when clad in soggy sweats. 2005 Photo via Getty
They don’t look great from behind, though. 2010 photo via AP
Pictured: ten guys who would clean up if they wore their kits out to the club, and Gábor Király. Photo via AP
With Fulham in 2014. The skinny jean phenomenon bleeding over into Hungarian keeper sweatpant fit trends? Photo via Getty
From today, Hungary’s first major international competition since the 1986 World Cup. Back when Király was 10. They won. Photo via Getty

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