“I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour. This was not a decision that I have taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing. To have been part of the team that helped the Club reach that 19th title is a great privilege.”
“I would like to thank the fans for their tremendous support throughout my career, I would also like to thank all the coaches and players that I have worked with over the years, but most of all I would like to thank Sir Alex for being such a great manager, from the day I joined the club his door has always been open and I know this team will go on to win many more trophies under his leadership.” – Paul Scholes
Here’s some quotes that fellow footballers said about the legendary Ginger Prince…
Pele: “If he was playing with me, I would score so many more.”
Zinedine Zidane : “My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder. Scholes is undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation.”
Laurent Blanc : “Scholes is the best English player. Intelligence, technique, strength… all the attributes are there. At Manchester United I saw what he could do on the training field. Phew!”
Veron: while at Chelsea being asked in an interview who’s the best English player : “Paul Scholes.”
Ray Wilkins : “I’m saddened because I think we as spectators, not only in this country but right through out Europe and the rest of the World, will be missing one hell of a footballer.”
Kevin Keegan : “What United have got that Chelsea haven’t is Paul Scholes. I think he is different to anything else in English football.”
Patrick Vieira : “The player in the Premiership I admire most? Easy – Scholes.”
Edgar Davids : “I’m not the best, Paul Scholes is.”
Xavi: “To me Paul is a role model. He is the best midfielder I’ve seen in the last 15 or 20 years.”
Jack Wilshire: “Sad to hear Paul Scholes is retiring, what a player! Top class and a great role model for any young English midfielder!”
Ian Holloway: “When he passes the ball it stays passed. The ball goes exactly where he wants it to. I have always loved him for that. I played against him once or twice and he is an absolute genius. He is a role model for anyone who wants to play football. He is a joy to watch. In fact, I wish he was 21, then I could see his career all over again.”
Sir Alex Ferguson: “What more can I say about Paul Scholes that I haven’t said before. We are going to miss a truly unbelievable player. Paul has always been fully committed to this Club and I am delighted he will be joining the coaching staff from next season. Paul has always been inspirational to players of all ages and we know that will continue in his new role.”
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.
Wayne Rooney: He’ll be missed greatly. He’s the best I’ve played with and against. He’s only small but it’s so difficult to get the ball off him. Every United fan will miss him.
Roy Keane: He’s a brilliant player and if you think he looks good on the television then you should train and play with him and you would see he is consistent every single day. He’s been brought up the right way and he would have the same enthusiasm if he was just playing in the street. Money doesn’t come into it, 70,000 crowds don’t come into it and the car he drives doesn’t come into it. You can see he loves the game and just wants to play. They say he can’t tackle but he can – it’s just that he mistimes a few!
Roy Keane: “No celebrity bullshit, no self promotion – an amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being.”
Phil Neville: I used to love seeing him receive a ball he had eyes in the back of his head he knew were everyone was on the pitch! I used to love seeing him charge into tackles — he did that in training too! But most of all every goal he scored was a great goal. Volley, header, you name it, he scored it.
Dwight Yorke: I’ve had the honour of playing alongside him. The four years I’ve played alongside him, he is the best player, one of the first names on the manager’s teamsheet. He is just a complete legend. There are not enough players like Paul Scholes around any more for my liking. Legend is over-used but this guy is right up there with the very best.
Eric Harrison (United youth team boss, 1981-1998) The first time I saw him play as a 14-year-old he took my breath away. Brian Kidd said to me, ‘He’s only tiny, he’s got ginger hair -you’ll probably have a bit of a giggle. But he can’t half play’. I could tell straight away that he didn’t need to be coached individually because he had a sat-nav in his head. It was just a case of getting him used to team formations and how important they were. It was clear from that early age that he was brave as a lion. I can still remember the look he gave me when I once dared to leave him out. There were obviously a lot of talented players coming through at the time and occasionally I had to leave Paul out. It was nothing to do with his ability or his talent, but there’s a saying that if looks could kill … and I’m sure Paul invented it!
Peter Schmeichel: People say he is a great player, but you have to define what a great player is, For me, it is a player who has a bottom level that means his worst performance is not noticed. If he is having a bad game, a team-mate might feel Paul Scholes is not quite on his game, but a spectator wouldn’t notice. Scholes, of all the players I have played with, has the highest bottom level. His reading of the game is unsurpassed.He has an eye for a pass, for what the play or the game needs at that precise moment, that I have never seen anyone else have. He controls and distributes the play and the game better than anyone I have ever seen.
Sir Bobby Charlton: If I were to use two words to sum him up they would be instinct and vision. He has the instinct to know where people are going to be and the vision to deliver the unexpected pass. He is an inspiration to every young player at the club. The scope of his ability is absolutely boundless. I still look at him and think of him as a young lad. His energy and enthusiasm for playing football has never diminished. He is the model professional. The fact that he stayed with one club is indicative of his loyalty and you know what you’re going to get from him. Something special. And if any young aspiring player wants a role model on and off the pitch then Paul will provide it. He likes nothing better after training and after games to be in the bosom of his family. We consider ourselves lucky to have him at Manchester United.
“Many great players have worn the shirt of Manchester United – players I worshiped, 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 Ferguson era – and in so many ways Scholes is my favourite.”
Signed from: Trainee
Debut: 21 September 1994 v Port Vale
Honours: Premier League (95-96, 96-97, 98-99, 99-00, 00-01, 02-03, 06-07, 07-08, 08-09, 10-11), FA Cup (95-96, 98-99, 03-04), League Cup (08-09, 09-10), Champions League (98-99, 07-08), Club World Cup (2008), Intercontinental Cup (1999)
UEFA European Under-18 Football Championship: 1993
1997 Tournoi de France
Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year (1): 1992–93
Premier League Player of the Month (4): January 2003, December 2003, October 2006, August 2010
PFA Team of the Year (3): 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07
Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992–93 to 2001–02): Domestic & Overall Team of the Decade
English Football Hall of Fame Inductee: 2008