Paul Scholes’s reaction to praise from Messi, Ronaldo, Zidane and other football greats

  • Rob Swan
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Eight years have already passed since Paul Scholes called time on his illustrious football career for the second and final time.

The Manchester United legend initially retired in 2011 before making a dramatic return to Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad midway through the 2011-12 campaign.

Scholes won one more Premier League title (the 11th of his remarkable career) before bowing out of the game alongside Ferguson in the summer of 2013.

The former England international shunned the limelight during his 20-year playing career and only gave a handful of interviews, which made it all the more surprising when he went into punditry.

One of the most technically gifted players that English football has ever produced, Scholes has been praised over the years by a whole host of legendary names.

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Asked how it felt to be hailed by the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, Scholes told beIN Sport in 2020: “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.”

Despite being a football legend himself, Scholes has always been so modest and unassuming. This is a man who clearly hasn’t been affected by fame and fortune.

What are the best quotes about Paul Scholes?

The down-to-earth Scholes celebrated his 47th birthday on November 16 2021, so let’s take a look at some of the best quotes about the United hero from the great and good of football…

Zinedine Zidane: "My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder. Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation.”

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."

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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."

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’."

Wayne Rooney: “Scholesy was brilliant. The things he could do with the ball, he obviously weren’t the quickest but he was so sharp you couldn’t get near him.”

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Ronaldo (Brazilian): “He’s the phenomenon.”

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.”

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.”

Cristiano Ronaldo: "Scholes is the best I’ve played with and he helped me a lot when I was young. He’s amazing."

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Rio Ferdinand: “He'll do ridiculous things in training like say: 'You see that tree over there?' – it'll be 40 yards away – 'I'm going to hit it.' And he'll do it. Everyone at the club considers him the best"

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."

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?”

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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."

Edgar Davids: "Everyone of us should emulate him. We can all learn from Paul Scholes.”

Sir Bobby Charlton: "I have no hesitation in putting a name to the embodiment of all that I think is best about football. It's Paul Scholes. Many great players have worn the shirt of Manchester United. Players I worshipped, then lost with my youth in Munich. Players like Denis Law and George Best who I enjoyed so much as team-mates and now, finally, players I have watched closely in the Alex Ferguson era. And in so many ways Scholes is my favourite. I love his nous and conviction that he will find a way to win, to make the killer pass or produce the decisive volley. When a game reaches a vital phase, these qualities seem to come out of his every pore. He's always on the ball, always turning on goal. He's always looking to bring other people into the action and if he loses possession you think he must be ill.”

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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