Gabor Kiraly And His Grey Sweatpants Have Retired, Aged 43

In a sad piece of news for all tracksuit bottom fans, former Crystal Palace goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly has officially announced his retirement from the game, aged 43.

Kiraly, who made 103 appearances for Hungary, has decided to hang up his grey trackies after a successful 26 year career with the likes of Hertha Berlin, Burnley and Fulham.

He posted an incredible video on his Facebook page announcing the news, hanging up his trusty pair of trousers on a dressing room hook, before leaving.

“I thank football for teaching me everything and making me a better person,” he said on his website.

In 830 appearances, the former Premier League goalkeeper and creature of habit played ALMOST every game of his career wearing those famous grey tracksuit bottoms.

Kiraly himself admitted that it was down to superstition. It began during his early days at hometown club Szombathelyi Haladás in Hungary and because these wonderful trackies brought him luck, he continued to stand out from the rest.

“It started 20 years ago these grey bottoms.” Kiraly told BBC.

“it began in Hungary and it brought me luck and then I take to (Hertha) Berlin and it brings luck as well as we were in the Champions League. After that I take it to London, to Crystal Palace.”

After Kiraly’s team went eight games unbeaten when he sported the grey tracksuit bottom look, he was convinced that his good luck charm:

“I want to be confident in the game. You cannot just put grey bottoms on in goal (to play well), you have to move your bottom. I want to work and I can only do this in these grey bottoms.” he said.

“In the beginning they were black, the kitman didn’t wash them on the Friday and on Saturday we had a game. I had no other bottoms and I take the grey ones and that was the start of the luck.

“I play 20 years in these bottoms for Hungary and I don’t think I’ll be changing.”

Image: PA

Image: PA

In 2005 though, whilst playing for Crystal Palace against Premiership winners Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the Hungarian shot-stopper decided to wear shorts for the first time in his professional career.

It was perhaps one of the worst games of his career to date.

Kiraly ‘did a Massimo Taibi’ and let a shot go through his hands. Crystal Palace lost 4-1 and he never wore shorts again. Did he forget to pack his trackies? Did he not have time to pop to Sport Direct and buy a new pair?

Image: PA

Image: PA

11 years later, Kiraly was a huge hit at the European Championships in 2016 when he sported the classic pair of trackies.

And at the age of 43, the former Fulham and Burnley man is still repping them for Hungarian side Szombathelyi Haladás VSE.

You can even buy a pair on his official website so if you fancy impressing your mates at five-a-side next week, go on and grab yourself these magic pants.

Thank you Gabor and enjoy your well deserved retirement.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He’s interviewed some huge names in the world of sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport, but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.


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