When Paul Scholes scored a ridiculous handball goal v Zenit in 2008

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Paul Scholes is one of the most gifted footballers that England has ever produced.

The Manchester United legend, who retired in 2013, could have played for any team on the planet at his peak. His technical ability was on par with the world’s very best midfielders.

However, like all geniuses, Scholes had his flaws. He was often criticised for his mistimed challenges and he picked up a fair few red cards during his illustrious career as a result.

But one particular red card he received, against Zenit Saint Petersburg in the UEFA Super Cup back in August 2008, wasn’t because of a late tackle.

United were trailing 2-1 in the 89th minute when substitute Wes Brown swung in a cross from the right flank. Paul Scholes rose highest and the ball was in the back of the net, past Zenit goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev, a moment later.

O'Shea tried his best to make everything seem normal

John O’Shea rushed over to Scholes to congratulate his teammate - but the look on Scholes’ face as he rose up off the turf was priceless.

He knew exactly what was coming next.

Danish referee Claus Bo Larsen showed the midfielder a second yellow card, and off he went.

The look on Scholes' face said it all

As Scholes made his way towards the Stade Louis II tunnel, biting his t-shirt, you could tell he was thinking to himself: ‘what the hell did I do that for?’

It was a moment of pure stupidity from a player who should have known much better.

However, it was also a moment of incredible technique.

Watch: Scholes' incredible handball goal

No, seriously. Watch the footage back...

To palm the ball into the top corner from the penalty spot, with his arm about 10 foot in the air, takes some doing.

If Scholes had another million attempts, he wouldn’t have nailed it like he did at the first time of trying.

This was even more impressive - if that’s the right word - than Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

But unlike Maradona’s goal, the match officials spotted Scholes had used his hand and were left with no choice but to show him a second yellow card.

Ferguson's reaction to Scholes' handball

"When someone gets sent off by punching the ball… it’s a bit unfortunate, it was an instinctive thing,” a surprisingly sympathetic Sir Alex Ferguson told reporters, per Goal, after the match.

His face dropped, though, after being informed that Scholes faced a European suspension valid for the Champions League.

"It happens,” the Scot added.

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Ryan Giggs

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