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That's true. Rossi could very well have retired at the end of 2009 - imagine how he would have gone out then, the glory he would covered himself with. The undisputed GOAT, having beat multiple generations. That fame would have been unbeatable. So it's just mostly perception.
Or, imagine Casey staying on for another couple of years, and Rossi/Lorenzo/Yamaha/Dani combination beating him silly. How would it have looked then? So it's all about perception and timing - all horseshit.