We’ve come across thousands of footballers over the years. Some are self proclaimed superstars like Pele and Ronaldo, some create a godly image of themselves like Maradona. But there’s one man who cares least about gaining limelight, but still stands heads and shoulders above all others. Who? Paul Scholes, indeed.
Paul Scholes was born in Salford, England. Paul was not one of those who had a god given gift. He is asthmatic and has suffered from Osgood-Schlatter disease in his childhood. He loved cricket as a kid. But when he turned 14, his liking for the sport of football exponentially increased. He started to ply his skills over it.
Manchester United scouts spotted him in 1991 and very soon he signed for the club as an apprentice. His manner of keeping the ball, take swift runs and his unusual method of passing and shooting caught everyone’s eye at the Manchester United academy, which has produced some proven starlets like Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton in the past. He started out as a striker, then turned into an attacking midfielder, but nothing suited him better than the central midfield role.
While making over 700 appearances for Manchester United, scoring over 150 goals, Paul won 10 Premier League Titles, 2 European Cups, 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and 5 Community Shields, but the way in which he has earned the respect of the whole footballing community is arguably his greatest achievement.
In a rare interview, Paul was asked about his daily routine. He gave an answer which personified his down to Earth nature. Here’s what he said:
“My ideal day? Train in the morning, pick up my children from school, play with them, have tea, put them to bed and then watch a bit of TV.”
Here’s what some proven personalities of the beautiful game have to say about the sober and shy Salford guy.
“My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder. You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get.”
“At La Masia, his name was mentioned a lot. He’s a teacher.”
“I’m not the best, Paul Scholes is. Every one of us is just trying to become as good as him. Everyone can learn from Paul Scholes”
Sir Bobby Charlton:
“Paul Scholes is my favourite player. He epitomises the spirit of Manchester United and everything that is good about football.”
“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.”
“He is the best midfielder of his generation. I would have loved to have played alongside him.”
“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’.”
“He is best central midfielder that I have seen — the most complete — is Scholes. I have spoken with Xabi Alonso about this many times. Scholes is a spectacular player who has everything.”
“When we were in training, I used to do a lot of tricks which hardly any players at the club could do. Once I was showing my skills to Scholes. After I finished it, Scholes took the ball and pointed to a tree which was about 50m from where we were standing. He said, I’m going to hit it in one shot. He kicked and hit the tree. He asked me to do the same; I kicked about 10 times, but still couldn’t hit it, with that accuracy. He smiled and left.”