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10 Great World Football Goodbyes

Will TideySenior Manager, GlobalFebruary 16, 2012

10 Great World Football Goodbyes

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    Thierry Henry's return to Arsenal was the stuff of Hollywood romance for Gunners fans. Sadly, his second goodbye more closely resembled a snuff movie.

    The Frenchman's last appearance (this time around at least) came in their 4-0 humiliation at the hands of AC Milan on Wednesday night. And now it's back to the MLS.

    But here are 10 players and coaches who said goodbye in the best way imaginable, by lifting a trophy.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan, 2009)

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    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is pretty good at goodbyes. The Swede has won eight titles in his last eight seasons, playing for five different teams in three countries.

    His last competitive game for Inter Milan came against Atalanta in May 2009. The Italian title was already in the bag, but Ibrahimovic's two goals made sure he finished as Serie A's leading scorer.

    Ibra did feature again for Inter, but only briefly on a preseason tour to the U.S. before joining Barcelona.

Francesco Totti (Italy, 2006)

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    Francesco Totti bowed out of international football after helping Italy win the 2006 World Cup.

    The mercurial playmaker took awhile to confirm his decision, and he eventually changed his mind to make himself available for the 2010 World Cup. He wasn't selected, and Italy bombed.

    Totti is still going strong at Roma, aged 35.

Peter Schmeichel (Manchester United, 1999)

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    Peter Schmeichel's final game for Manchester United came in the 1999 Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, with United looking to seal an unprecedented Treble.

    The Great Dane looked be be headed for an unhappy ending before injury time goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer produced the most dramatic conclusion imaginable.

    Schmeichel said goodbye by lifting the biggest trophy in club football.

Didier Deschamps (France, 2000)

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    Didier Deschamps captained France through the most glorious period in their history—lifting first the World Cup in 1998 and then the Euro 2000 trophy.

    After Euro 2000, Deschamps went on to make two more international appearances, but both came in friendly matches.

    His last competitive game for his country finished with a moment David Trezequet, and the whole of France for that matter, will never forget.

Carlos Alberto Parreira (Brazil, 1994)

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    Carlos Albert Parreira coached Brazil to World Cup glory in 1994, then decided to step down immediately afterwards.

    Parreira said he'd achieved what he set out to, and left to coach Valencia in La Liga.

    It was a sweet goodbye, but Parreira would be back in 2003, and this time time things wouldn't work out as favorably. He resigned after the 2006 World Cup.

Jose Mourinho (Porto, 2004 and Inter Milan, 2010)

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    Jose Mourinho has said goodbye in the best possible way twice as a coach.

    First at Porto, who he led to an unlikely 2004 Champions League triumph before departing for Chelsea.

    Then at Inter Milan, with Mourinho's team sealing the Treble by winning the 2010 Champions League. It was The Special One's last game with Inter before leaving to coach Real Madrid.

Pele (New York Cosmos, 1977)

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    Pele's last competitive appearance saw him win the 1977 Soccer Bowl, as his New York Cosmos defeated the Seattle Sounders 2-1.

    It was a fitting finale for one the greatest—if not the greatest—footballer to walk the earth.

Vladimir Smicer (Liverpool, 2005)

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    In May 2005, Liverpool produced one of the great comebacks to defeat AC Milan and win the Champions League. Here's a reminder of "The Miracle in Istanbul."

    Vladimir Smicer started the game on the bench but came on to score the second, as Liverpool fought back to 3-3. Smicer then buried his penalty in the shootout to help secure victory.

    It was his last competitive game for the club before leaving for Bordeaux.

Bill Shankly (Liverpool, 1974)

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    The late, great Bill Shankly was another Liverpool man to go out in a blaze of glory.

    Shankly led Liverpool to 1974 FA Cup triumph before announcing his surprise decision to step down as the club's manager a couple of months later.

    The 3-0 win against Newcastle United at Wembley was his last competitive match at the helm. But his influence at Liverpool remains as strong as ever.

David Beckham (Real Madrid, 2007)

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    David Beckham's last game for Real Madrid saw them clinch the La Liga title, and the man himself drop to his knees to kiss the turf at the Bernabeu as the celebrations took hold afterwards.

    It had taken four years for Beckham to win Spanish football's biggest prize, and finally he had an answer for those who questioned his £25 million transfer from Manchester United.

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