When it comes to the most memorable retirement matches in football history, Zinedine Zidane headbutting Marco Materazzi in his final game as a professional footballer takes the cake.
In extra time of the final in Berlin, Zidane and Materazzi were spotted having words on the pitch, with the latter’s insults riling up ‘Zizou’, who proceeded to nut him in his chest.
Zidane became the first player to be sent off in a World Cup final and the image of him walking past the World Cup will forever remain iconic.
However, we reckon Ignazio Barbagallo has given Zidane a run for his money by staging an utterly ridiculous curtain-calling back in 2019.
In the Catanese Third Category championship game between the City of Viagrande and the Nebrodi, played on a pitch worse than any surface you’ve played in on your Sunday League ventures, a helicopter landed on the pitch and three blokes, two of which were wearing balaclavas, jumped off.
With a cloud of dust in the air, they immediately set their sights on Barbagallo and dragged him onto the aircraft before taking off.
But although it looked pretty legitimate, it was in fact the latest stunt staged by Barbagallo, who is said to have a reputation as a prankster according to Fox Sports Italy.
He wanted to bow out in the most unique way possible and he definitely managed that. However, he did also get himself and his club in a spot of bother.
Barbagallo was banned until June 30th of 2019, but it was pretty much obsolete given he’s called it a day but City of Viagrande received a €200 fine and was suspended from competition until May 31 of that year by Sicilian football authorities.
The reason given for the punishment reads: “For causing the interruption of the race by ordering and allowing the landing of a helicopter on the pitch compromising the safety of those present.”
Regardless, we can all agree that this much was a much better idea than the farce conjured up in the 26th minute of John Terry’s final game for Chelsea in 2017.