Paul Scholes retires: A glance back at a sparkling career
After he confirmed his retirement, we take a look back at Paul Scholes' glittering 17-year career at Old Trafford
After Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes hung up his boots for good on Tuesday, we take a brief look back at his distinguished career at Old Trafford.
The 36-year-old, who made 675 appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, will be remembered as one of the most technically gifted players to have ever graced the Premier League.
And the former England international will take his rightful place in the Old Trafford history books alongside the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona.
“I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do,” Scholes said in a statement on Tuesday.
“To have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour. To have been part of the team that helped the club reach a record 19th title is a great privilege.”
Scholes joined United in 1991 and a year later starred alongside David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt as the now infamous ‘class of 1992′ won the FA Youth Cup.
That particular crop of youngsters dominated the Premier League for years to come under the guidance of Ferguson, and Scholes was instrumental in the club’s success.
His characteristic bursts into the box, fierce shots and pinpoint passing helping to propel United to the pinnacle of English football.
Scholes claimed 10 Premier League winner’s medals, two Champions League successes, three FA Cup crowns and two League Cups triumphs during his time at Old Trafford.
A rare low-point in Scholes’ career came in 1999 – the suspension which forced him to miss the Champions League final in which United mounted their famous late comeback to defeat Bayern Munich in Barcelona.
But eight years later Scholes went some way to making amends for his absence when he fired United to victory against Barcelona with a stunning strike to seal a place in the 2008 final, where Ferguson’s men subsequently triumphed on penalties over Chelsea in Moscow.
Scholes won 66 caps for England and racked up 14 goals for his country, including three in major tournaments. But the midfielder was unable to drive the national team to the same level of success enjoyed by his club and in 2004 he announced his premature international retirement aged 28.
Scholes has won admirers worldwide during his glittering career. Leading the plaudits is Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi HernÃƒÂ¡ndez, who describes Scholes as a “role model” and “the best midfielder in the last 20 years”.
And United ambassador and legend Sir Bobby Charlton delivered his own tribute to the midfielder.
“Many great players have worn the shirt of Manchester United,” Charlton said. “Players I worshipped, then lost with my youth in Munich.
“Players like Denis Law and George Best who I enjoyed so much as team-mates and now, finally, players I have watched closely in the Alex Ferguson era.
“And in so many ways Scholes is my favourite.”