And So The Story Ends

2 Jun

The caption in the image above says it all. After winning the match, Xavi, Busquets, Pedro, Iniesta, and even Messi hadn’t really accomplished all their mission yet. They all had the same thing in mind : “This is the last time he’s gonna play. I want his shirt!” In the end, Iniesta beat them all to it, probably by making Scholes promised him the shirt before the other four got the chance to talk.

For me, this is tough. Paul Scholes retires from football. Three days since the news, I still can’t get over it. I can’t imagine how it’s gonna feel like watching Man United next season without him. Sure, this season he’s not really a first team player anymore, but when everyone else in the pitch was stuck, at least he’s there. Just to know he’s there boosted other players’ performance. Wingers and forwards were always anticipating his godlike long through pass. Midfielders and defenders was never in panic when pressed by the opposition players cos he’s always there and ready to receive the ball, and they knew once the ball got to Scholes, everything is gonna be okay.

Next season, they won’t have any of those facilities anymore. Whoever’s coming will have a really really tough job to replace him. Though Man United will be fine without him, they will have to really change the way they play. Wingers and forwards cannot be always expecting pinpoint passes towards them anymore, since in current United squad (and current available transfer targets), I don’t think anybody can replace Scholes in terms of passing, vision and dictating the game.

Long before Xavi and Iniesta become the benchmark as the definitive midfielders, Scholes had done it for years. Of course, since he’s never been on TV commercials, magazine ads, or newspaper headlines, “common” football fans will never know of him. Only people in football world (including Xavi and Iniesta) recognize his one-in-a-million talent. Zidane, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Fabregas, Nasri and many more are top players playing for different teams, yet they all had the same answer when they were asked about who’s the player of current generation that they look up to or the best for them: “Paul Scholes” . It’s not just an act of courtesy because they were all asked about it in different occasions, yet the answer remained the same. That’s how good he is.

For me, he’s not just a great player, he’s also an inspiration. Watching him play was what made me start playing football. He makes everything he does, short and long passes or one-two-touch or ball control, looks so simple and easy. Of course, as lots of players can vouch for it, giving a 50-60 yards pinpoint pass or control the ball like your body is a magnet or knowing where your teammates are before you even receive a pass is not easy. Yet he did all of that all the time. He scores a lot of goals, too, exactly 150 goals. As Zidane says : “My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder.” Not to mention, with a high profile job like this, he never once dives into the world of fame. He makes sure that he’s just a simple family man and doesn’t let his football excellence influence his personal life.

There are lots of other videos you can find on Youtube, but Youtube can only show you a portion of a match. If you’ve never seen Paul Scholes match, you can’t imagine what you’re really missing out, but if you have, feel honored to be able to watch one of the THE best player in the current generation. A talent this huge won’t come too often in a lifetime span.

Anyway, there’s nothing else I can add to what everyone has said about Paul Scholes. Hope he enjoys being a coach and who knows, maybe in 3 years time, he can replace Sir Alex Ferguson when he finally retires. Scholesy, thank you for everything you’ve done in football. You will be greatly missed.

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