Careers or glorious spells at particular clubs cannot always end on a high, with defeats in finals, disappearing off into the shadows, or simply humiliating last games all disappointing finishes. That is something these six former superstars knew only too well... Due to retire after the tournament, Zinedine Zidane's career ended in a flash during the 2006 World Cup final when he was sent off for headbutting Italy defender Marco Materazzi. France went on to lose in a penalty shootout and...
Due to retire after the tournament, Zinedine Zidane's career ended in a flash during the 2006 World Cup final when he was sent off for headbutting Italy defender Marco Materazzi.
France went on to lose in a penalty shootout and Zidane, who had already won the World Cup in 1998 and came out of international retirement to captain
Les Bleus, was denied a fairytale ending to an already illustrious career.
Robert Pires played his last game for Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League final, with the 33-year-old hoping to help the Gunners win the one major trophy that had remained elusive.
As it was, the dismissal of goalkeeper Jens Lehmann just 18 minutes into the clash with Barcelona saw Pires sacrificed for replacement stopper Manuel Almunia. He then watched on helplessly as Arsenal lost 2-1 and joined Villarreal in Spain that summer.
Roy Keane hobbled off the pitch injured in September 2005 in what proved to be his final game for Manchester United after 13 glorious and trophy laden years with the club.
It was not known at the time, but Keane, who had already hinted at a departure at the end of the 2005/06 season, would go on to leave under a cloud just a few weeks later after heightening tensions between himself and manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Andrea Pirlo won four Serie A titles in four seasons with Juventus between 2011 and 2015, and a treble was on the cards in that final year after winning the Coppa Italia and also reaching the Champions League final.
While his departure to New York City wasn't announced until several weeks later, Pirlo likely already knew it was his last game in Europe. But instead of a magical evening for the heavily decorated Italian, his team were on the end of a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Barcelona.
Having steered the club to Champions League and FA Cup glory at the height of his powers in 2005 and 2006 respectively, as well as two near misses in the Premier League, Steven Gerrard's last ever game for Liverpool is better best forgotten.
It saw the Reds make the trip to Stoke on the final day of the 2014/15 season, where they were utterly humiliated by the Potters in a 6-1 thrashing.
Rather than walk away on a high after winning a sixth Premier League title with Manchester United in 2013, an increasingly injury prone and ageing Rio Ferdinand pushed himself on.
The centre-back was unable to prevent United's sharp decline the following season and chose to join QPR for the 2014/15 campaign. He played his last of just 11 Premier League games in March 2015 with the club in the relegation zone, a mire the team wasn't able to free itself from.
Ferdinand knows it too - tweeting recently: "No disrespect but Wenger going on for too long feels like my last year playing at QPR."