With the exception of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, it’s hard to believe that another footballer has been praised as much by their peers as Paul Scholes.
The Manchester United legend, who spent his entire professional career at Old Trafford, was an outstanding player for pretty much his entire 20-year career.
He made a lasting impression on most of his teammates and many of his opponents - including some of the biggest names in football history.
Zinedine Zidane famously named Scholes as his toughest opponent, adding that he is “the complete midfielder”, while Pep Guardiola described the Englishman as “the best midfielder of his generation”.
Even Lionel Messi grew up learning from Scholes. "At La Masia his name was mentioned a lot,” the five-time Ballon d’Or winner once said. “He’s a teacher."
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But who does Scholes rate as the best player that *he* ever faced?
Well, this very question was put to the United hero during a question and answer session at Old Trafford - but he failed to name either Messi or Ronaldo.
Scholes played against Messi in 2008 during the Champions League semi-finals and went head-to-head against a young Ronaldo at the 2004 European Championships.
He also trained and played with the Portuguese superstar between 2003 and 2009.
Scholes, however, ignored those two extra-terrestrials and instead named the great Andres Iniesta as his greatest ever opponent, according to the Mirror.
A fine choice indeed.
Iniesta is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of his generation; a genius with the ball at his feet who won just about every major trophy with Barcelona and Spain.
Incidentally, Scholes swapped shirts with Iniesta after the 2011 Champions League final - but in an interview from 2014 he revealed that the Spaniard’s shirt was ‘in my garage somewhere’.
“I still have Iniesta’s shirt from the 2011 final,” Scholes told the Independent. “He asked me to swap at the end of the game.
His shirt is in my garage somewhere. I mean no disrespect, it is just I have never been one for memorabilia from my playing days. There is nothing of mine on display at home, apart from my 2008 Champions League winning shirt, which my oldest son has on his bedroom wall.”
Never change, Scholesy.News Now - Sport News