Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Parting can be such sweet sorrow and there are many ways to say farewell.
The full-on emotional tears and hugs. The pat on the back. The quick handshake. The wave goodbye. And the total denial that anything is out of the ordinary when you know you will never see that person again.
Carlo Ancelotti had been faking the latter for some time, but finally broke the news that he would be leaving Milan after securing third place at Fiorentina on Sunday. No surprise there, and no surprise that he will be replaced by Leonardo.
NEWS: Ancelotti leaves, Leonardo takes over
But as we bid a fond arriverderci to another campaign, it truly is the end of an era for three of the big names on the pitch.
Paolo Maldini, Pavel Nedved and Luis Figo - a trio who have shaped the European game over the last decade and a half - all hung up their boots.
"Shall we share a taxi?"
Two Golden Ball winners and another who should have won it at least once, but each one leaving a box-set of memories and a legacy of total dedication to the game that hopefully a new generation will learn from.
But hold on, dry those tears: a rumour is gathering pace that Nedved has no intention of giving up those Christmas morning runs just yet and is considering returning to Lazio, thanks in part to the promptings of his agent.
Some people don’t know when to call it a day.
However, there's certainly no way back for Maldini, who was just relieved to be in a stadium where, instead of booing him, everyone liked him – even if it happened to be in Florence.
Anyway, all three received the sort of send-off that will live long in the memory for all the right reasons.
There are those who are saying goodbye to one set of supporters but will be saying hello to a new set very soon.
And the Udinese and Genoa fans have to be congratulated as well for their rousing expression of goodwill towards Fabio Quagliarella in Fruili, and Diego Milito and Thiago Motta at the Luigi Ferraris.
Milito gets emotional
All in all, a wonderful final day with 41 goals hitting the back of the net – quite a few of them absolute crackers in what has been a season of stunning goals.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who ended the campaign as the league’s top goal-scorer on 25 – and Giuseppe Mascara vie for the honour of goal of the season, with two apiece.
The Catania man has to edge it with his audacious volley from the half-way line in the Sicilian derby win at Palermo and he did it again against Udinese, albeit from slightly closer range.
Zlat’s behind-the-back ninja-backheel against Bologna stands out of course, but even more tingle-down-the-back-and-shake-your-head-with-admiration was the sublime chip from the edge of the area at home to Reggina.
If this is in fact the Swede’s swansong then his final goal in Italy was something to savour: a cheeky backheel when forced to turn away from the goal inside the six-yard area against Atalanta.
"Damn you, tattoo 'artist'!"
And down in the capital, hail the last king of Rome Francesco Totti, who drew level with Juventus legend Gianpiero Boniperti in the all-time Serie A goalscoring charts when he netted number 178 from the spot against Torino.
So it’s adieu to Toro then, who join Lecce and Reggina in Serie B.
For a season most of us could not wait to usher out the door, in the end it was a perfect send-off.
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