2006 ... adieu Zizou, tschüss Schumi, laters Warney
The year just gone by has seen three of the world's greatest ever sportsmen retire. There can hardly have been a time in history when three of the best exponents of their craft have all quit at the same time, bowing out at the top.
Here are the facts, the simple facts which underline the brilliance of this terrific trio:
• Winner, 1998 World Cup - scores first two goals in 3-0 win over Brazil - France's first ever World Cup triumph, on home soil to boot.
• Winner, 2000 European Championships - scores crucial goals in quarter-final and semi-final wins en route to the 2-1 extra-time victory over Italy.
• Winner, 2002 Champions League - scores winner in 2-1 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen - a sublime left-foot volley, one of the finest goals ever to grace a European Cup final.
• Runner-up, 2006 World Cup - comes out of international retirement to inspire France all the way to the final, nonchalantly scoring a penalty in 1-1 draw before being undone by the gamesmanship and deceitfulness of the malicious Marco Materazzi, getting sent off as France lose 5-3 on penalties to Italy.
• 7 world championships (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) - more than any other driver in Formula 1 history.
• 91 race wins (from 250 grand prix starts) - more wins than any other driver in Formula 1 history.
• 68 pole positions - more poles than any other driver in Formula 1 history.
• World championship runner-up twice - 1998 and 2006.
• Winner, 1999 World Cup - bowls Australia to 8 wicket win over Pakistan in final at Lord's - takes 4-33 to earn man-of-the-match award.
• Runner-up, 1996 World Cup - picks up 12 wickets to guide Australia to final, going on to lose to Sri Lanka by 7 wickets.
• 706 Test wickets - more than any other bowler in history.
• 3,083 Test runs - greatest number of runs without scoring a century.
Warney, Schumi, Zizou, thanks for the memories! The world of sport will be all the poorer for your retiring.