Wayne Rooney: How do other countries say goodbye to legends?

By Alex BysouthBBC Sport
Disappointing to see Rooney have to defend his inclusion - Southgate

So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, good night. Whatever the language, a big departure can bring an emotional response, as Wayne Rooney has discovered.

The 33-year-old, England's record goalscorer, will win his 120th and final cap against the United States at Wembley on Thursday.

It is a gesture by the Football Association that has been welcomed by some and questioned by others, but Rooney is not the first to be afforded a glorious goodbye.

From television with the Sneijder family to tears for Diego Maradona, here's how other countries have honoured their departing legends.

Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)

Wesley Sneijder watches messages on television with his family
Sneijder received televised messages from former team-mates, including Arjen Robben

Are you sitting comfortably?

Perched in a mocked-up living room in the centre of the Johan Cruyff Arena pitch with his family, watching goodwill messages from his peers - that's how Wesley Sneijder said goodbye to the Netherlands after a 15-year international career.

The midfielder played 62 minutes of a 2-1 win over Peru in September, before being given a spot on a sofa with his wife and two children to watch pre-recorded messages from former team-mates and managers.

The crowd held aloft banners celebrating the 34-year-old, who began his international career in April 2003 and racked up a national record 134 caps, scoring 31 goals along the way.


Lukas Podolski (Germany)

Lukas Podolski
Lukas Podolski was given a standing ovation when he came off after scoring the winner

Lukas Podolski is a man who knows how to go out on a high.

The forward marked his 130th and final appearance for Germany in March 2017 with a spectacular winner in a friendly against England.

The former Bayern Munich and Arsenal man was given a presentation, then delivered a speech that delayed kick-off by several minutes, while Germany fans unveiled a celebratory mosaic.

After scoring his 49th international goal, the 2014 World Cup winner made way before the final whistle to a standing ovation - accompanied by music from the film Gladiator - before being carried on a lap of honour by his team-mates.

Thierry Henry (France)

Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry never got his farewell game, but was honoured on the pitch against Brazil

The one that got away.

Thierry Henry hung up his international boots in 2010, but five years later - after announcing he would retire from club football - French newspaper L'Equipe launched a campaign to get the ex-Arsenal forward one last cap for Les Bleus.

The campaign for Henry, who played 123 times for France, to appear against Brazil in a friendly in March 2015 gathered pace, receiving backing from the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Arsene Wenger and Antoine Griezmann.

However, it was not an opinion shared by everyone, with former France boss Raymond Domenech saying "playing for the national team should not be a gift".

Instead, France chose to honour Henry, Zidane and fellow 1998 World Cup winners Patrick Vieira and Marcel Desailly with an appearance on the pitch before the friendly.

David Silva (Spain)

Manchester City midfielder David Silva retired from international football after the World Cup in the summer, but will get one last cap for Spain on Sunday.

A World Cup and two-time European Championship winner, Silva made 125 appearances for his country and will be honoured at the Estadio de Gran Canaria when Spain face Bosnia.

Silva, who was born in Gran Canaria, will take a ceremonial kick-off - in a suit, apparently.

The 32-year-old will also be awarded a special cap by Uefa, although it won't count as an official international appearance.

Diego Maradona (Argentina)

Diego Maradona
Fans gathered outside La Bombonera for hours before Diego Maradona's farewell fixture

The greatest send-off, for one of the greatest of all time.

In 2001, seven years after his previous international cap and four years after retiring from the game, Diego Maradona returned for one final appearance in an Argentina shirt.

Aged 41, and having had a heart attack the previous year, Maradona's presence at former club Boca Juniors' Bombonera stadium prompted tears from many of the 50,000 crowd - who had packed the streets for hours chanting his name before the match - as Argentina took on a Rest of the World XI.

Dogged by ill-health and drug problems late in his playing career, Maradona reportedly shed nearly three stone to feature against a side including the likes of Carlos Valderrama, Rene Higuita, Lothar Matthaus, Eric Cantona and Hristo Stoichkov.

The Argentine FA planned to retire Maradona's legendary number 10 shirt following the match, but were not allowed to do so because of Fifa regulations - although that did not spoil the party.

Maradona scored twice in a 6-3 win and, with 20 minutes to go, ripped off his Argentina shirt to reveal the colours of Boca Juniors and send the Buenos Aires crowd into a frenzy.

Brazil legend Pele and former France captain Michel Platini watched on as Maradona was carried by the players for several goodbye laps, before giving an emotional farewell speech.

"I will take this homage to my grave," he said.

Diego Maradona
It was an emotional occasion for the Argentina legend