Even though he knew it would be the last time he’d be donning the United shirt his generosity remained as he handed out his final shirt on Saturday to a current great who idolises Scholes like so many.
Andres Iniesta was the first to Scholes and he got his wish, he had the legend’s shirt. It wasn’t only Iniesta who was after the Ginger Prince’s jersey though. Scholes had to disappoint Messi, Xavi, Busquets and Pedro by informing each that he had already given it to Iniesta. Despite just winning the Champions League, these Barcelona stars recognised that they were in the presence of the greatest little maestro of his generation.
I am forever in awe of Scholesy and my words aren’t enough to pay a fitting tribute to the midfield magician so I’ll leave it to the experts. Those who have played with, against and coached this model professional who continues to shun media attention.
Fergie: “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: “Paul Scholes – The best! Great player, person, friend!”
Rio Ferdinand: “Paul Scholes aka Sat Nav went from a scoring midfielder to a dictator of the game (changed his game while still at top of the game). Genius.
“Going to miss training with him and his cold cutting and dry comments on the bike while warming up next to me on anyone who deserves it!”
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!!”
Jack Wilshere: “Sad to hear Paul Scholes is retiring, what a player!
“Top class and a great role model for any young English midfield player!”
Gerard Pique: “One of the best players I’ve ever seen in my life! Spectacular on training!! Playing with him was a joy!”
Cristiano Ronaldo: “Scholes is the best i’ve played with and he helped me a lot when I was young. He’s amazing.”
Wayne Rooney: “The best I’ve played with – no question. His touch, passing, vision, composure is outstanding. I try to copy him.”
Roy Keane: “Scholesy is just the model professional. I remember whenever we’re playing in Europe at half-time there are players running to get his shirt. That just goes to show how highly he’s thought of on the continent. He’s a master.”
Ryan Giggs: “In training his team always wins, everyone wants to be on his side. He’s always first pick.”
Nicky Butt: “In my opinion he’s up there with the top three or four players to play for United.”
Xavi: “He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and he doesn’t give possession away. If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more.”
Iniesta: “(Scholes and Giggs) are living legends. They have played a great number of games, have broken records, have won titles and furthermore they prove they in every game they are great professionals.”
Messi: “At La Masia (Barcelona’s Academy) his name was mentioned a lot. He’s a teacher.”
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.”
Dimitar Berbatov: “Nobody else in the world can play the way Scholes does. The passes he produces all over the field and the way he changes the game is brilliant. Every manager would like him. But luckily he is here and playing with us. Paul practices that all the time. When he has finished training he always goes out and shoots.”
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.”
Ronaldinho: “I want to pass like him. Who taught him how to do that?”
Pele: “If he was playing with me, I would score so many more.”
Maradonna: “His technique is unique.”
George Best: “The boy can play.”
Sir Bobby Charlton: “The best I’ve seen at Old Trafford.”
Denis Law: “He’s the best all-round. A joy to watch.”
Paddy Crerand: “What a player Paul is. Everything about him is just perfect.”