Age irrelevant for world-class Kiraly, says Storck
By Ed Dove
BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - Gabor Kiraly became the oldest man to play in the European Championship when he helped Hungary to a 2-0 victory over Austria on Tuesday, leaving coach Bernd Storck to declare he was still among the world's best.
Kiraly, the first 40-year-old to feature in the finals, marked the occasion with some fine stops, the best one denying Zlatko Junuzovic 10 minutes before halftime.
"I don't talk about old and young players, just good players and he's one of the best in the world," Storck told reporters after goals from Adam Szalai and Zoltan Stieber steered Hungary to a surprise Group F win.
"He was chosen to start in goal because he's a good player."
The eccentric Kiraly made his debut in 1998, coming on against Austria and denying the nation's top scorer Toni Polster from the penalty spot.
Eighteen years later the balding keeper with the trademark grey tracksuit bottoms finds himself competing at a major tournament for the first time.
Kiraly has had a nomadic career that has taken Hungary's most-capped player to nine different clubs including Hertha Berlin, Crystal Palace and 1860 Munich.
"He contributed to this victory in helping to keep a clean sheet," added Storck. "He led the team to this victory and was rewarded for his hard work."
The praise was echoed by Hungary's impressive midfielder Laszlo Kleinheisler.
"I would like to congratulate Kiraly and (37-year-old Zoltan) Gera," he said.
"They may be a little bit older now but they've done everything to get this victory and they've done everything for this team."
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)