Happy birthday, Paul Scholes!
The Manchester United legend, widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders English football has ever produced, is celebrating his 46th birthday.
It’s now seven years since Scholes hung up his magical boots (for the second time). Since then, he’s worked as both a pundit and a coach.
But it’s fair to say that United fans miss him terribly.
What they would give to have a player of Scholes’s ability in their current squad.
Scholes, perhaps more than any other player in recent English football history, had the universal respect of his peers.
Most of his former teammates name him as the best player they ever played with - even ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo - while various high-profile opponents have also been full of praise for the midfield maestro down the years.
Scholes was asked what he thought about receiving such lofty praise from football’s biggest names, and his response summed the man up perfectly.
Speaking to beIN Sport, he said: “Embarrassed mainly, erm… but flattered as well to get these kind of comments from these people.
“These aren’t just run-of-the-mill players and coaches. These are the best players who played the game: Zidane, Messi, Ronaldo.
“It’s really nice and, erm… it gives you a boost when you read stuff like that.
“Is it true? Don’t know what they think, so I’ll take it.”
Classic Scholes. So unassuming and modest.
It’s quite ironic that he receives so much praise, yet he’s not the best at accepting compliments.
Here are some of the best quotes about Scholes from the great and good of football…
Pele: "If he was playing with me, I would have scored so many more."
Lionel Messi: "At La Masia his name was mentioned a lot. He’s a teacher."
Zinedine Zidane: "My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder."
Cristiano Ronaldo: "Scholes is the best I’ve played with and he helped me a lot when I was young. He’s amazing."
Xavi: "For me, he's the best central midfielder I've seen in the last 15, 20 years."
Thierry Henry: "I can’t understand why Scholes has never won the player of the year award. He should have won it long ago. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t seek the limelight like some of the other ‘stars’."
Cesc Fabregas: "He is the one whose level I aspire to. He is the best player in the Premier League."
Roy Keane: "An amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being."
Pep Guardiola: “Out of everyone at Manchester United, I would pick out Scholes – he is the best midfielder of his generation. I would have loved to have played alongside him.”
Laurent Blanc: "I tell anyone who asks me – Scholes is the best English player."
Dimitar Berbatov: "Nobody else can play the way Paul Scholes does."
David Beckham: “He’s always one of those people others talk about. Even playing at Real Madrid, the players always say to me ‘what’s he like’? They respect him as a footballer and see him as the ultimate.”
Patrick Vieira: "The player in the Premiership I admire most? Easy – Scholes."
Ronaldinho: “I want to pass like him. Who taught him how to do that?”
Ronaldo (Brazilian): “He’s the phenomenon.”
Bruno Fernandes: "I think Scholes was one of the best midfielders in the world. For England, a lot of people talk about Frank Lampard because he scored a lot of goals of course, one of the best in England too, you have Steven Gerrard too, but I think Scholes is the one who makes more difference than anyone else."
Luis Figo: "I’m star-struck when I see Paul Scholes because you never see him. On the pitch, you can’t catch him. Off the pitch, he disappears."
Gary Neville: "I wouldn’t swap Paul Scholes for anybody. He is quite simply the most complete footballer I have ever played with. He is the best."
Sir Alex Ferguson: "I think Paul Scholes is the best player in England. He’s got the best skills, the best brain. No one can match him. There isn’t a player of his mould anywhere in the world. Paul is irreplaceable."
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