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With the news that one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever stalwarts has retired, world football took a moment to reflect on the pure genius, past and present, of Paul Scholes. The 36-year-old midfielder who typifies the best of Old Trafford will be sorely missed, writes United Latest contributor Pete South

  Report By: Pete South, 11:30pm

Tributes began pouring in today for Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes, who announced his retirement from football earlier. Scholes, who played his 676th and final competitive appearance for United in the 3-1 Champions Leaguer Final defeat against Barcelona last weekend, will now join the club’s coaching staff to continue on United’s tradition of keeping loyal servants at the club.

Team-mate Rio Ferdinand led the way with the tributes after the centre-back paid homage to Scholes’s ability on his Twitter page. Quoting Iconic French midfielder Zinedine Zidane, Ferdinand wrote: “‘Scholes is undoubtedly the best midfielder of his generation’ – Zidane….enough said ! ” He went on to praise the 36-year-old for his ability to change his playing style as his United career developed. 

“Paul Scholes, aka ‘Sat Nav’, went from a scoring midfielder to a dictator of the game (changed his game while still at top of the game)…. the BEST player of his generation… loved every minute of playing football with him.” he wrote. Scholes was heralded as the best midfielder of his generation by fellow pass masters Zidane and Barcelona maestro Xavi Hernandez, who declared him as one of the finest players to have played the game in recent decades.

“The best central midfielder that I have seen is Scholes. He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and he doesn’t give possession away. If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more…”
he commented in an interview with The Guardian earlier this year.

Sir Alex Ferguson – who offered the midfielder a one year contract extension before he made his decision to retire – spoke of the talents that marked him out from the rest of the pack. The Scot said: “He has an awareness of what’s happening around him on the edge of the box which is better than most players. It doesn’t matter who I am thinking about bringing into my midfield, Paul Scholes will be included, as he would in any side in the world.”
Paul Scholes scores in his Premier League debut against Ipswich Town in 1994

Despite the praise that was offered up by his fellow professionals, the man who has inspired plenty of kids footy boots to be bought in the hope of unearthing a similar young talent that Ferguson stumbled across in 1991, Scholes remained poised and understated as he announced his decision. “I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour.” Scholesy said in a statement on ManUtd.Com.

Italian World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, and team-mate Gary Neville were amongst others who lined up to offer up their praise for the quiet Mancunian. Scholes retired from International duty in 2004. Overall, he won 66 caps for England, scoring 14 goals, while he scored more than a hundred and fifty goals for his club in a 17-year professional career at Old Trafford.

As one of the finest passers of a ball to ever grace the English game, Scholes will be a huge loss to a United side that, while less reliant on his talents than in previous years, could always be counted upon for the big occasion. However, the first team’s deduction is the academy youngsters’ gain, as they benefit from the experience of a man who has won everything at club level – and get a few tips from one of the most naturally talented footballers of his generation.

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Wed, 01 Jun 2011 4:14:09 am




Wed, 01 Jun 2011 5:23:30 am

Legend passing genius, and all round professional.


Mike oconnell

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 3:14:26 pm

Scholes’y you’re a living legend, ive lost count of the number of times ive shouted at my telly or from the stands “get scholes on fergie!!!!!” the best midfield maestro in the premier league by far and a kick like a stallion! You will defo be missed paul, thanx for all the joy you’ve given us true united fans! Enjoy. 😉


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