Football

Paul Scholes scored the perfect goal against Barcelona

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The 29th of April is a pretty inauspicious day for most, but something happened on that day seven years ago now that will live long in my memory.

At around 8.10pm that evening, Paul Scholes smashed home a shot from 30 yards against Barcelona, which eventually sent United through to the Champions League final, which was won in a penalty shoot out against Chelsea

It couldn't have been a more perfect moment. England's most widely respected midfielder internationally (but criminally under-rated at home), smashing home a sublime goal against a Barcelona team, many of whom adored Scholes' style.

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It epitomized Scholes and that moment will forever live on in United fans memories.

Perhaps that moment wasn't as important or significant as those two goals in '99, but no sporting moment sends shivers up my spine like that did, and still does to this day.

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It was a perfect shot, the perfect player, against the perfect team at the perfect moment. I could watch that strike a thousand times and still get chills. I think from that moment on it felt destined that we would win the Champions League that year.

Perhaps this is just an excuse for a United to fan to gush about a favored sporting moment, but I think has more significance than that. Paul Scholes was a one in a generation midfielder, the likes of which England will never again see.

He played in a style which would fit into any of the best ball playing teams on the continent, and the almost endless compliments you see quoted about him by the game's greats is testament to this.

And this moment made up for a career which, to United fans, achieved so much, but in so many ways, could have been so much more. At international level, he was never appreciated by a series of incompetent managers (Sven Goran Eriksson for example), and usually played out of position on the left wing...

And in '99, for perhaps United's greatest day, he missed out through suspension along with Roy Keane. You can see the pain on his face, lifting the trophy in '99 wearing his suit, at having missed out on the game, and in interviews after he said receiving the medal, lifting the trophy, meant so much less having not played (even though he was instrumental throughout the campaign).

So this pained Champions League past, and unfairness at international level, made him scoring this goal even more fitting and meaningful, and you can see just how much it meant to him in his celebration.

What's more, that season marked the 50th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, the worst day in United's history, and who could be more fitting than to send us on the road to winning the biggest club tournament in the world to mark that disaster, than a man who truly embodies the meaning of "Manchester United Legend", Paul Scholes.

Where does Paul Scholes rank in a list of Manchester United legends? Let us know below!

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Topics:
Football
Paul Scholes
Premier League
Manchester United

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