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Albert Pujols: Greatest Goodbyes in Sports

Saying goodbye to our heroes is never easy.

As the clock ticks down, we get closer to the retirement of Albert Pujols as a professional baseball player, one of the best hitters the game has ever seen.

Throughout 22 seasons in the majors, the Dominican has delighted us with his game, from his first year in 2001, where he was the rookie of the year, to the present, when he is in the hunt for his 700th home run.

Saying goodbye to a legend like Pujols will not be easy, but as singer Héctor Lavoe famously said: "Everything has its end."

We take a look back at some of the most bitter farewells in sports history.

Lou Gehrig

"The Iron Horse" is considered one of the greatest hitters of all time, and his farewell was quite dramatic.

On July 4, 1939, Gehrig made one of the most memorable speeches in sports history after being diagnosed with a fatal neurological disease.

Although he did not have long to live, he claimed that he was "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth" for having played baseball. The Yankees slugger passed away two years later.

Zinedine Zidane

The French magician announced that he would quit soccer at the end of his last World Cup in Germany (2006).

Although it all started badly, Zidane showed his best game to reach the final against Italy, and when everything looked like he was going to retire as champion, the unthinkable happened.

Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi and was sent off. The last image of the Frenchman as a professional is the sad moment when he left the field, passing by the World Cup.

Andre Agassi

In 2006, tennis legend Andre Agassi played his final match against Benjamin Becker at the U.S. Open, and prior to the competition, it was learned that he had to take shots in order to reduce the back pain he was dealing with. As the end of the game approached, the American was seen in tears, enduring the pain and knowing that the end was near.

Despite the defeat, Agassi received a four-minute standing ovation from the crowd after the match and delivered a retirement speech.

Rocky Marciano

One of the best heavyweights boxing has ever seen, and the only one to retire with an undefeated record of 49-0.

The Massachusetts bomber had his last fight in September 1955 against Archie Moore at Yankee Stadium. Curiously, Marciano wanted to be a baseball player as a child.

"The Brockton Blockbuster" went out in style with a ninth round KO to end a perfect career in one of baseball's most legendary scenarios.

Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice was one of the best wide receivers in NFL history, and the way he retired was epic.

After retiring in 2005 with the Broncos, Rice signed a one-day contract with the 49ers to retire with the team that gave him his professional start.

The new contract was worth $1,985,806.49, but what exactly is that number? 1985 was the year he was drafted, his number was 80, (20)06 represents his retirement year, and 49, the San Francisco 49ers.

In the end, the figure was only a tribute, and Rice did not receive any money. On November 19, 2006, the player received a halftime homage in a game between the 49ers and the Seahawks.