Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes, of Manchester United, retired day before yesterday.

He was the player I looked up to the most in the football world and was among the biggest reasons I chose to be a fan of Manchester United. Even during the days of Ronaldo, the sight of Scholes’ name on the team sheet thrilled me the most.

The events after the Barcelona game were fitting. A reporter described it best –

‘Stood, clad in Iniesta’s sweat-drenched shirt, Scholes had to disappoint Messi, Xavi, Busquets and Pedro by informing each that he had already surrendered his jersey. For all their modern mastery of the football, Barcelona’s pass-poppers recognised that they were in the presence of the greatest little maestro of his generation.’

When I wrote expressing my admiration for him earlier this year, I wrote..

If we are lucky, Scholes will decide to play on for another season before he hangs up his boots. If Ryan Giggs retires at the same time, the media will be all over Giggs showering one accolade after another and Scholes will be written about as another one of those greats who probably never got the credit or praise he deserved. People will speak of his eye catching passes, his spectacular goals and they will move on. News stays fresh only for a few hours after all.. But, football will be poorer for it. Football would have lost an artist, a role model for many a youngster, a humble family man, one of its few remaining ‘one club men’ – all rolled in one.

This blogger is reminded of an article written ages ago by a leading journalist on Sachin Tendulkar accusing the Indian media of taking him for granted.

‘It is unlikely that the tourist guide loitering on the perimeters of the Taj monument would have appreciated its timeless beauty — and even if he did, it is less likely that he might have pondered its historic value to a civilization.’

It is much the same with Paul Aaron Scholes. We know not what we will miss..’

Turns out we weren’t so lucky..

Watching Paul Scholes play was always on my bucket list. I am glad I did it before he retired.. at Fulham on May 9th 2011. He didn’t disappoint. He hardly ever does.
I looked upto him most because of his character – While Paul Scholes, the footballer, always amazed and enthralled, Paul Scholes, the family man, never disappointed. He had high standards and his performance levels weren’t able to match those standards any more. I am glad he decided to retire as nothing would have been worse than him going out on a low. He did provide many memorable moments in his characteristically short interviews. ‘I suppose I’m okay’ and ‘I will miss football, not the life of a footballer‘.
Well, I will miss watching him – the finest midfielder of his generation and the ultimate footballing role model. And I will never forget his brilliant goal against Barcelona – my finest moment as a Manchester United fan..

Thank you Paul Scholes. I hope to meet you someday!