He was lauded by the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and most recently Xavi as the best midfielder of his generation, but the end has come for Paul Scholes.
Today the Manchester United midfielder has announced his retirement from the game aged 36, and having spent his entire career with the club, will join the backroom staff to take on a coaching role.
A solid start to the season was followed by some indifferent performances which led to Sir Alex Ferguson using Scholes as a bit-part player, and the midfielder would rather bow out at the top.
“This was not a decision I’ve taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing,” said Scholes.
“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.”
Scholes picked up 10 Premier League winners medals, held aloft the FA Cup on three occasions, the League Cup twice and also won Europe’s elite competition twice.
It was his vision and passing ability on the pitch that endeared him to so many fellow professionals, and Sir Alex Ferguson called him a “truly unbelievable player.”
Despite a quiet demeanour away from the pitch, there was a darker side to Scholes’ game and his is the third most booked player in Premier League history.
But while Scholes made a few enemies on the pitch, fans of the game loved the passion and his get on with the game attitude and the diminutive figure will be remembered as one of the greats.