There were some dramatic goodbyes in 2006. Tennis star Andre Agassi had close to the perfect exit with a moving speech at the US Open, while French football legend Zinedine Zidane made the most dramatic and ugly exit, with The Headbutt. Lucky Italy’s boorish Marco Matterazzi didn’t mention Zinedine’s other family members. Of course, the best-timed exit belonged to the Thorpedo, who said he made his decision to hang up the bodysuit at 2.53pm on Sunday, November 19. If he’d quit at 2.55pm, it just wouldn’t have been the same.
But the Big Goodbye Award goes to German revhead Michael Schumacher who almost snatched a world title with his final efforts behind a Ferrari steering wheel. In the end, he enjoyed seven drivers’ world championships, including 91 wins and 63 other podium finishes. Only a tyre puncture prevented him from razing the opposition at his last race in Sao Paulo, but the 37-year-old recovered from dead last to finish fourth. Three days later, he said: “Mika (Hakkinen) returned, Niki Lauda made a comeback – I cannot give a 100% guarantee today about what I might do in two or three years.” Pencil him in as a contender for a future crack at “Comeback of the Year”.
Crikey readers say:
“Michael Schumacher… also inaugural winner of the ‘Don’t come back award’ and the ‘What took you so long award.” — Cameron Sharrock