The curtain was brought down on Xabi Alonso’s illustrious playing career on Saturday afternoon - and man it was emotional.
In the 81st minute of Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga match against Freiburg, Carlo Ancelotti gave Alonso the send-off from the crowd inside the Allianz Arena he so richly deserved.
Alonso hugged all of his teammates, shook hands with the referee, applauded all four corners of the stadium before giving Ancelotti a big hug and taking his seat in the dugout. His final appearance as a professional footballer now over.
Philipp Lahm, also making his final appearance before retirement, did the same thing five minutes later.
Two modern-day legends now both former rather than current players. Feels a bit weird, doesn’t it?
Remembering Alonso's stunning penalty from 2009
To mark the occasion, let’s look back at the time in 2009 when Alonso took one of the greatest penalties - if not *the* greatest penalty - ever.
Spain, European champions at the time, took on Argentina in a friendly at the Bernabeu and recorded a 2-1 victory.
Alonso opened the scoring in the 16th minute before Lionel Messi levelled the scores with a 62nd-minute penalty.
However, Alonso had the opportunity to win the match for La Roja with five minutes left on the clock - and he didn’t disappoint.
The technically gifted midfielder, who had joined Real Madrid from Liverpool a few months earlier, hammered the ball into the top corner of the net.
Video: Alonso's spectacular penalty v Argentina
The angle at 58 seconds in this video shows how perfect Alonso’s spot-kick was…
And here it is again from the stands...
Better than Zidane's in 2006 WC final?
But was it better than this effort from Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final?
Zidane’s magnificent spot-kick in that final has been totally overshadowed by his red card, issued following a headbutt on Marco Materazzi, but we shouldn’t forget it.
To do *that* in a World Cup final takes some serious bottle.
Better than Kevin Pressman's?
And what about this penalty from goalkeeper Kevin Pressman?
Surely the most powerful penalty ever scored.
Sorry for the quality - it looks like it was recorded on a calculator, we know - but this was the 1990s…
Is Alonso’s the greatest penalty ever scored? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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