Scholes officially announces Man United retirement

Following on from yesterday’s news that Paul Scholes is expected to retire for a second time, BBC Sport reports that the 38-year-old veteran has confirmed the speculation and officially announced his departure from Man United’s playing staff at the end of the current season.

Scholes’ retirement marks the second time he has brought an end to his playing days, having originally retired in the summer of 2011 before returning months later, stating that he had hung up his boots too soon.

Having returned in New Year 2012, Scholes signed a one year contract to keep playing for the Red Devils until the end of the 2012-13 season – and has now confirmed that that contract was his last as a player.

He said: “I am finally hanging up my boots for good.

“Playing football is all I have ever wanted to do, and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United, under the greatest manager of all time, has been an honour.”

Scholes is expected to feature in United’s home game against Swansea on Sunday afternoon, in a match that also marks Sir Alex Ferguson’s final home game in charge at Old Trafford before moving “upstairs” to the club’s board.

Scholes has made 497 top-flight appearances in a career that has spanned three decades, and will bid an emotional farewell to the Stretford End when his participation in Sunday’s match is over.

Ferguson said of the Salford-born player: “Paul is a truly unbelievable player. He has always been fully committed to this club and it has been a real privilege to work with him for so many years.

“Paul will play at Old Trafford on Sunday against Swansea and will collect an unbelievable but well-deserved 11th Premier League medal.”

Scholes’ team-mates at United have also taken the time to pay tribute to the man Ferguson identified as Eric Cantona’s long-term replacement.

Rio Ferdinand took to Twitter to say: “One of the best I played alongside also the most naturally gifted player too.”

Scholes’ performances and influence since coming out of retirement led to speculation that he could even return to the international fold and represent England at Euro 2012, but coach Roy Hodgson did not take up this option.

France legend Zinedine Zidane once described Scholes as being “in a class of his own,” while Marcello Lippi stated his belief that Scholes was “was “one of the most important players for United under Sir Alex.”

Scholes’ appearance against Swansea will mark his 498th Premier League game, and he has netted 107 goals during his career, of which the entirety has been spent at Man United.

Scholes sits 10th in United’s list of all-time top goalscorers in all competitions, with 155 in total.

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