Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect, the club have said.
There had been speculation about Scholes' future in the past few weeks and it had looked increasingly likely the 36-year-old would end his stellar career after growing increasingly dissatisfied with his bit-part role.
And Scholes confirmed that view on Tuesday morning. He said: "This was not a decision I have taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing."
It was hardly a surprise Scholes, who will join the coaching staff at Old Trafford from next season, should choose a low-key way to confirm his future intentions and the former England star even joked about it in his announcement.
"I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do," he said. "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.
"I would like to thank the fans for their tremendous support throughout my career, I would also like to thank all the coaches and players that I have worked with over the years. But most of all I would like to thank Sir Alex (Ferguson) for being such a great manager.
"From the day I joined the club his door has always been open and I know this team will go on to win many more trophies under his leadership."
Scholes' role within the United coaching set-up has still to be outlined, although there could be an opening available with the reserves, where Warren Joyce has been acting alone since the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Scholes will also be granted a testimonial, that will take place in August.
"What more can I say about Paul Scholes that I haven't said before," said Sir Alex Ferguson. "We are going to miss a truly unbelievable player. Paul has always been fully committed to this club and I am delighted he will be joining the coaching staff from next season. Paul has always been inspirational to players of all ages and we know that will continue in his new role."
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