Soccer

Six nightmare final games before retiring as sub Pique sees red to end career

Goodbyes are tough – especially if they come after decades of service to one club, like Gerard Pique over the weekend.

And while almost all end in tears – and a celebration, just last month Liverpool legend Maxi Rodriguez was treated to a firework display on the pitch – a select few have ended acrimoniously. Zinedine Zidane signing off in style at the 2006 World Cup – or even Pique from the bench.

Daily Star Sport is looking at six players whose final game didn't go entirely as they might have hoped: from World Cup finals to England's non-league.

Gerard Pique – Barcelona

Gerard Pique will go down as one of the modern greats – he's won everything a player can, from the Premier League to dominating La Liga with an all-conquering Barcelona side.

However, Pique's final game on Tuesday evening saw the defender given his marching orders without even having to step onto the pitch. Pique cornered the ref at half-time, reportedly saying: "You are the referee who has most screwed Barcelona by some distance.

"You are a f**king disgrace," and so the 35-year-old called the curtain on his career with a flash of red.

Who had the worst final game? Let us know in the comments section

Zinedine Zidane – France

Zinedine Zidane is one of the most gifted players football has ever seen, and in his swansong, he single-handled dragged France to the final of the 2006 World Cup.

Zidane put on an all-time display as he humiliated Brazil in the quarter-finals of the showpiece. However, all his achievements across his career were soon to be overshadowed by a rush of blood to the head that evening in Berlin.

It's often forgotten Marco Materazzi netted for Italy – Zidane's panenka less so – but what is remembered is Zidane planting his head into the chest of the Italian. However, it did produce the enduring photo of Zidane walking past the World Cup trophy.

Mark van Bommel – PSV Eindhoven

Mark van Bommel will go down as one of the greats in Dutch football, and he was part of the Dutch team who reached the World Cup final in 2010.

However, in his homeland, Van Bommel is also remembered for his homecoming to PSV – which ended in disgrace. The Dutchman hadn't progressed through the youth sides of PSV, but he had made his name in Eindhoven.

Van Bommel looked off the pace for the majority of the season – and he ended his career with a red card, he later reflected: "The red card I received was perhaps a reflection of the whole season."

Jurgen Kohler – Borussia Dortmund

In Germany, Jurgen Kohler is known as a 'football god', and a quick look at his achievement makes it hard to disagree: Champions League, European Cup, and Bundesliga triumphs just scratch the surface.

At 36-years-old, Kohler's final game came in the 2002 UEFA Cup final, as Borussia Dortmund squared off with Feyenoord. However, Kohler conceded a penalty in the 31st minute, causing the legendary german to be sent off.

After the full-time whistle, despite losing the final, Dortmund's boss said: "A fairy tale, when you see everything he’s achieved!"

Edgar Davids – Barnet

The final chapter in Edgar Davids' career will forever be an outlier – an innings that took in the sights of Amsterdam, Milan, and Turin ended in a haze of red mist at Salisbury City.

Former Champions League winner Davids rocked up at non-league outfit Barnet in 2012 as player-manager to try and restore them to the football league. However, less than 12 months later, Davids decided to drop the player part when he received his third red card of the season.

Shortly after being dismissed, he announced his intention to retire, adding: "I don’t know how many games we have played now, but there is weird decision-making all the time. It is ridiculous. I don’t think I’m going to play anymore."

Socrates – Garforth Town

Socrates headed up one of the greatest teams to never win the World Cup, but at 50-years-old the legendary Brazilian came out of retirement to play one game for non-league side Garforth Town.

The Brazilian – who was now overweight – was limited to a 12-minute cameo that didn't feature all that much running. In his XXL shirt, Socrates warmed up by downing a Budweiser and smoking cigarettes in the cold West Yorkshire weather.

One fan even remarked: “Do you think that was actually him?" However, those who were on the pitch were left with no doubt: "His touch was incredible. That’s one thing the top players never lose. I can’t remember him giving the ball away.”

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