Premier League – Scholes calls time on glorious career
The news was widely anticipated as Scholes has mulled over his future in recent seasons and had not signed the new contract offered to him by Manchester United. Unlike evergreen team-mate Ryan Giggs, he has been afflicted by fitness problems in recent years and made 16 Premier League appearances this season.
Scholes retires as one of United’s modern greats, having secured 10 league titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups and three League Cups in a glittering career at Old Trafford that saw him lauded by players such as Zinedine Zidane and Xavi as one of the best players of his generation.
Scholes told the club’s official webiste: “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.”
Scholes, 36, was one of the famed ‘Fergie Fledglings’ who emerged from the club’s youth system after winning the FA Youth Cup in 1992, and burst to prominence when helping United secure the Double in 1995-96, alongside David Beckham, Giggs and Gary Neville.
Once a prolific scorer from midfield, in recent years he has relied on his vision and superb range of passing to remain an important asset for the club. He will now take on a coaching role for the start of next season and his testimonial game will be held in August.
Sir Alex Ferguson said: “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.”
Scholes won 66 England caps before retiring from international duty in 2004 in order to focus on his club commitments, although he rejected a late offer from Fabio Capello to participate in the World Cup last summer.