One of the biggest hits and the torch bearer of the famous batch of 1992, Paul Scholes was a modern day genius and an epitome of consistency. Having made 700+ appearances and came back out of retirement to sacrifice his personal needs for his first and true love, United, Scholes had achieved everything with the Red Devils. His haul of 25 trophies is one of the highest for a player.
Scholes was never the kind of midfielder to score a bucket load of goals from midfield, but the kind of midfielder to thread an inch-perfect pass or release a winger with a perfectly weighted through ball. But in the 2002-03 season, Scholes shattered this one-dimensional assessment of his game by scoring a career-high 20 goals in 52 appearances.
Andres Iniesta on Paul Scholes
Scholes though was not just about goals. He was the man to do all the dirty work for United, the kind of work that would certainly make the current United manager Jose Mourinho proud. Scholes has amassed 99 Yellow cards in the Premier League, the third highest by any player in the Premier League era, as well as 32 Yellow Cards in the Champions League, the most by any player ever. Such numbers only point to his exemplary defensive contribution in breaking up play and sniffing out dangerous situations.
Xavi Hernandez has widely been regarded as one of the best, if not the best, midfielder of his era, but this is what he thought of Paul Scholes:
"A role model. For me, and I really mean this, he's the best central midfielder I've seen in the last 15, 20 years. He's spectacular, he has it all, the last pass, goals, he's strong, he doesn't lose the ball, vision. If he'd been Spanish he might have been rated more highly. Players love him."
One Word. Legend
Pep Guardiola, who has worked with players like Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas, Schweinsteiger, Thiago and David Silva has hailed Paul Scholes as the greatest midfielder of all time. But it was Xavi's comments about the abilities of Scholes, that certainly defined him as a player and a technician. He could dribble past defenders with ease, create chances, execute that killer pass, score insane goals as well as run back and shield the back four. Any young kid out there, who aspires to become a midfielder, ought to watch Paul Scholes on and off the ball.