The fact there’s a whole Wikipedia page devoted to quotes from current and former footballers and managers praising Paul Scholes’s ability tells you everything about the immense talent he possessed.
The former Manchester United star, who spent his entire professional career with the Red Devils before retiring (for the second time) in 2013, is unquestionably one of the greatest players English football has ever produced.
Zinedine Zidane called him his toughest ever opponent, Pep Guardiola said he would have loved to have played alongside him, Wayne Rooney once labelled him the best player he’s ever played with, Xavi Hernandez dubbed him “spectacular”, Lionel Messi said his name was mentioned a lot at La Masia and called him a ‘teacher’. The list goes on and on.
However, it was Roy Keane who summed up his former teammate best when he said: “No celebrity bulls**t, no self promotion - an amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being.”
Scholes wasn't affected by fame and fortune
Although he was fabulously gifted, Scholes did all of his talking on the pitch and kept a low profile off it. Fame and fortune didn’t affect his character in any way, shape or form.
Scholes is one of the most decorated players in the history of English football, having won 11 league titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, two Champions Leagues and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Why United fans will always love Scholes
But more than the silverware, United fans will remember Scholes for the way he dictated the tempo of matches from midfield. They’ll remember his extraordinary range of passing and they’ll remember his goals.
The 5ft 7in central midfielder always appeared to have more time on the ball than anyone else on the pitch - a hallmark of a truly great footballer.
Video shows what it was like watching Scholes at Old Trafford
And there’s one video on YouTube that beautifully portrays this.
Unlike other videos, this one was filmed by a United fan sat in the North Stand - now the Sir Alex Ferguson stand - at Old Trafford.
United beat Fulham 3-0 on the afternoon and Scholes opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a 25-yard volley from a corner.
Dimitar Berbatov and Rooney netted United’s other two goals either side of half-time but it was a masterclass from Scholes that fans went home smiling about.
If you never had the privilege of watching Scholes live, then this is as good as it gets.
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