The world of rugby is still in shock at the news that legendary Irish rugby star Brian O'Driscoll has been dropped for Saturday's deciding Lions Test against Australia in Sydney.
It's fair to say the 34-year-old hasn't been in his very best form Down Under, but he's hardly embarrassed himself either - nevertheless, coach Warren Gatland chose Welsh titan Jamie Roberts ahead of O'Driscoll, and kept English battering ram Manu Tuilagi as his option on the bench.
All in all, what was lining up to be a potentially triumphant finale to his Lions career - and very probably also his international career - will instead see him sitting in among the physios and WAGs, applauding politely.
O'Driscoll isn't the first legend of his sport to suffer an ignominious departure from the biggest stage, however. Here's our pick of the other superstars who shuffled out of the limelight instead of going out with a bang.
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Gary Lineker: Subbed off by Graham Taylor
England's finest ever international striker saw his international career ended by perhaps England's worst ever international manager. Lineker was hauled off by Taylor during England's ill-fated final group stage match at Euro '92 with the side in need of a win - and for once in his life lost the plot, barging straight past Taylor as he came off without even acknowledging the boss's presence.
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Linford Christie: Tests positive for Nandrolone
In his glory days the British sprinter became the first man to hold the World, Olympic, European and Commonwealth 100m title at the same time (though considering how few people fall into all four categories that's perhaps not so surprising), but his career finished in the worst possible way.
In 1999, while to all intents and purposes retired, he tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone at an indoor meeting in Dortmund. He denied doing anything wrong - as he had successfully done after an earlier positive test at the 1988 Olympics - but was handed a two-year ban by the IAAF, and a lifetime ban by the BOA.
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Zinedine Zidane: Goes out with a headbutt
The French superstar enjoyed a stellar career, winning league titles with Juventus and Real Madrid, lifting the Champions League trophy, and inspiring France to an incredible World Cup victory in 1998. Eight years later, deep into extra time in the World Cup final, he looked likely to cap all those glories with a second World Cup victory. The unfancied French side were pushing Italy hard in the final, and Zidane had almost scored a decisive header.
But with 10 minutes left until a shootout, Marco Materazzi's masterstroke was to insult Zidane's sister, prompting Zidane to headbutt the Italian in the chest. Materazzi made the most of the blow, falling to the turf as if he'd been bullseyed by a sniper on the roof of Berlin's Olympiastadion, and the referee sent the Frenchman off. France went on to lose 5-3 on penalties.
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Donald Bradman: Denied 100 average with final innings duck
The Australian cricketer, generally regarded as the greatest batsman of all time, walked out to the middle in the first innings of his final Test match looking certain to end his career with a batting average of over 100. Indeed, as he took to the field his average was just over 101.
A seemingly endless ovation reverberated around the ground for the great man, and even the England side who were Bradman's opponents that day gave a spontaneous "Three cheers for the Don!" as he approached the wicket, led by England captain Norman Yardley, who warmly shook Bradman's hand.
Moments later, England's Eric Hollies had soured Bradman's final moment for good. His first ball from the Vauxhall end at the Oval was pushed gently to a silly mid-off; his second was a googly that clean bowled Bradman for a duck.
The BBC's commentator John Arlott wondered if Bradman even saw the ball through the tears in his eyes, for he never got near it, was miles down the crease and would likely have been stumped even if it had missed.
Bradman was clapped off the field, and with 6,996 runs in 70 Test innings his average had dipped to 99.94.
Yet all was not lost: there was still the Australians' second innings to come, and given that the Oval had been one of Bradman's happiest hunting grounds over the years he had every chance of making the runs he needed to push his average back up over the magic mark.
It was not to be, however, as England had one more bitter part to play in the story: the hosts' second innings batting collapse handed Australia an innings victory, denying Bradman the chance to bat again and score the necessary runs he needed.
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Brian Clough: Ends career with relegation
One of the greatest managers the English game has ever known, Clough became synonymous with tactical brilliance and unequalled motivational skills as he led first Derby County and then Nottingham Forest to the old First Division title. He also led Forest to back-to-back European Cup victories.
And though his glory days were long behind him by the 1990s as his alcoholism took a firm and tragic grip on his life, Cloughie still had success, taking Forest to the FA Cup final in 1991 where he once again failed to win the only title that ever eluded him.
Two years later, however, he left the game with his tail between his legs. Forest came last in the inaugural season of the Premier League, and Clough left the job. Aged just 58, he never again managed a football club.
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Ed Moses: Just third in final race
The legendary American 400m hurdler changed the face of his event after he went 122 races unbeaten in the 1970s and 1980s, collecting two Olympic gold medals and being denied a third only by the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games.
Though he'd lost his unbeaten record in a race in 1987, Moses was determined to collect that elusive third gold medal at Seoul in 1988 and turned up having won a further consecutive 10 races - among them a World Championship gold. But the unthinkable happened on the South Korean track: despite having a perfect draw in lane three and getting a perfect start, the 32-year-old was beaten by both America's Andre Phillips and Senegal's Amadou Dia Bia. He collected bronze, though that was a scant consolation, and never ran again.
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Nigel Mansell: F1 career ends in 'Fat McLaren'
After a series of incredible misfortunes which cost him two world titles in the 1980s (most memorably in 1986, when a blow-out 19 laps from the end cost him the championship) Mansell was finally crowned champion in 1992 after a season in which he won a then-record nine races.
He even followed that up with two potentially perfect motor racing swansongs. In 1993, he headed to the Indycar series in America where he won the title; then a year later he made a brief - and emotional - cameo back in F1 for Williams to replace Ayrton Senna, who had been tragically killed during the season. Mansell won his final Grand Prix, at Adelaide, for the team who had made him a household name.
If only he'd left it there. Instead, Mansell returned to F1 in 1995 to drive for McLaren. The car had to be specially widened to cater to his by-then-ample frame (earning it the unfortunate nickname of the "Fat McLaren"), with the time-consuming re-design causing him to miss the first two races of the season. He was then comfortably outdriven by team-mate Mika Hakkinen and, after just two races, Mansell quit the sport with his reputation distinctly sullied.