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'Pyjama Man' no laughing matter for Hungary

Hungary team-mates tell EURO2016.com that there is infinitely more to goalkeeper Gábor Király than his choice of trousers; EURO2016.com salutes the EURO's first 40-something player.

Gábor Király and the trousers everyone is still talking about
Gábor Király and the trousers everyone is still talking about ©AFP/Getty Images

His country's leading appearance-maker with 103 caps, Gábor Király is within days of becoming the first 40-something (provided the Republic of Ireland's Shay Given does not get there first), and the oldest player ever, to take part in the UEFA European Championship – but still, most fans know him best for his trousers.

Known as 'Pyjama Man' for his habit of wearing baggy, grey tracksuit bottoms, he once explained his unusual outfits thus: "I'm a goalie, not a top model. 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 dive 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."

However, while his look may have turned heads, his team-mates and his coaches have always known Király as a serious sportsman. "For a defender it always means a lot to have a highly-experienced goalkeeper behind him," Hungary left-back Mihály Korhut told EURO2016.com.

"He is 40, so he has played in a lot of matches, but even for him it is a fantastic experience to be here at the EURO, since it's been a long time since we qualified for a major finals."

Korhut’s defensive sidekick Richárd Guzmics puts Király’s longevity down to an innate and dedicated professionalism. "Gábor is a very experienced goalkeeper and he trains in a way that not even the young players do," he told EURO2016.com. "He does what he has to do at each and every training session and in every game. He is very good at guiding us at the back. He has a commanding personality." 

Of course, the man whose opinion counts most is Hungary coach Bernd Storck, but it is clear that the German boss is delighted to have the former Hertha BSC, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Burnley, 1860 München and Fulham keeper in his squad.

"I've always told him that age isn't important for me," Storck said. "I don't care if a player is young or old, he has to be good. Gábor is good – he's outstanding. He radiates confidence and is a goalkeeper with an incredible aura and charisma. He will help us be successful at the EURO."