Manchester United midfielder, Paul Scholes, has today announced his decision to retire from playing football.
Scholes, 36, came through the Manchester United academy “class of ’92” which also included David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville. Gary Neville also retires from playing at the end of this season, along with Edwin Van der Sar, meaning that the end of 2010/2011 season will see something of a ‘changing of the guard’ at Old Trafford.
Scholes exits his career as he spent much of it – on a high – as Manchester United, the club with which he spent his entire playing career, have regained the Barclays Premier League title that has been their for much of the past two decades.
He leaves having just failed – at the final hurdle – to pick up another UEFA Champions League winners medal to add to those he picked up with the club in 1999 (when, heartbreakingly, he was banned for the final) and 2008.
Scholes will not be leaving United, however: club manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed that he will remain at the club in a coaching facility.
To add to immeasurable club accolades, Paul Scholes also picked up 66 caps for England – a number which would surely have passed the 100 mark, had Scholes not decided to retire from international football at the age of 29, following the Euro 2004 tournament.
In all, Paul Scholes scored 102 times for Manchester United from 466 first team appearances, and 14 times for England from 66 caps.
During his playing career, Scholes picked up the English Premier League winners’ medal ten times, three FA Cups and two UEFA Champions League titles.
The player is best summed up, perhaps, by the tremendous praise of his peers and contemporaries: Zinedine Zidane referred to Scholes as “undoubtedly the greatest of his generation”, Xavi Hernandez called him “the best midfield player of the past 20 years” and Sir Bobby Charlton, himself a Manchester United legend, said simply “in so many ways Scholes is my favourite.”