Manchester United central midfielder Paul Scholes may be ready to call time on his Old Trafford career come the end of the season.
Scholes is currently sidelined with a knee injury but there were rumours circulating recently that he had returned to light training in order to slowly regain his match fitness. Scholes had previously retired from professional football at the end of the 2010/11 Premier League season and took on a position as a member of the Manchester United coaching staff.
But in January 2012 he returned to club football, after reversing his decision to retire, against arch-rivals Manchester City in a FA Cup match which United won 3-2.
Scholes, a member of the famous class of ’92 affectionately known as “Fergie’s Fledglings”, has gone on to become one of the most prolific midfielders not only in Manchester United’s history but in the history of the game of football. Always comfortable on the ball and equipped with a deadly eye for a pass, Scholes was, in his prime, one of the standout players of his generation.
Even at the age of 38 his manager Sir Alex Ferguson still rates him as one of the three best passers in the game today along with the likes of Barcelona duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
In an era where loyalty to a single club is rarely seen Scholes, along with team-mate Ryan Giggs, has been an exception to the rule where this one-club man has always played for one team and one team alone - the red half of Manchester.
Scholes, during his stellar career spanning almost two decades, has won almost every honour there is to be won in the game. In a career many football professionals would envy, Scholes has gone on to win 10 Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, five Community Shields, two Champions Leagues, one Intercontinental Cup and one Fifa Club World Cup.
Scholes is defined as a one-touch passer with incredible awareness, composure on the ball and the aptitude for visualising a pass and then executing it with deadly accuracy. Scholes had almost all the attributes required for a complete midfielder - except for tackling.
The gifted midfielder’s only regret during a career littered with silverware would be to not have won any honours with the England national team, which at one time consisted of fellow United team-mates David Beckham, Phil Neville, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt amongst others.
Scholes has been hailed one some of the greatest players in world football as a complete footballer including the likes of Luis Figo, Edgar Davids and Zinedine Zidane, who stated his disappointment at not being able to play with Scholes during his playing career.
Generally defined as a shy football who prefers to stay out of the limelight, in stark contrast to the modern day professional footballer, the world of football would surely miss one of the exceptional footballing talents the game has bared witness to once he does hang up his boots.
Football fans around the globe should consider themselves privileged enough to have seen a player like Paul Scholes playing the game of football.
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