Man United: Paul Scholes retires from football
Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect, the club have said.
There had been speculation about Scholes' future in the past few weeks and it had looked increasingly likely the 36-year-old would end his stellar career after growing increasingly dissatisfied with his bit-part role.
And Scholes confirmed that view on Tuesday morning. He said: "This was not a decision I have taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing."
It was hardly a surprise Scholes, who will join the coaching staff at Old Trafford from next season, should choose a low-key way to confirm his future intentions and the former England star even joked about it in his announcement.
"I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do," he said. "To have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour. To have been part of the team that helped the club reach a record 19th title is a great privilege.
"I would like to thank the fans for their tremendous support throughout my career, I would also like to thank all the coaches and players that I have worked with over the years. But most of all I would like to thank Sir Alex (Ferguson) for being such a great manager.
"From the day I joined the club his door has always been open and I know this team will go on to win many more trophies under his leadership."
Scholes' role within the United coaching set-up has still to be outlined, although there could be an opening available with the reserves, where Warren Joyce has been acting alone since the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Scholes will also be granted a testimonial, that will take place in August. "What more can I say about Paul Scholes that I haven't said before," said Sir Alex Ferguson.
"We are going to miss a truly unbelievable player. Paul has always been fully committed to this club and I am delighted he will be joining the coaching staff from next season. Paul has always been inspirational to players of all ages and we know that will continue in his new role."
Paul Scholes factfile
1974: Born Salford, November 16.
1991: Signs for Manchester United as a trainee.
1992: Helps United win FA Youth Cup.
1993: Signs professional forms with United.
1994-95: Makes Premier League debut on September 24 against Ipswich. Scores five goals in 17 league appearances during season.
1995-96: Scores 10 goals in 26 league appearances as the Red Devils win the Premier League and FA Cup double.
1996-97: Hits three goals in 24 league appearances as United retain the Premier League title.
1997: May 9 - Called into the England squad by Glenn Hoddle despite only being a reserve for United.
May 24 - Makes his international debut as a substitute against South Africa at Old Trafford.
June 4 - Plays for England in Le Tournoi, scoring on his first start against Italy.
September 10 - Scores opening goal in World Cup qualifier as England trounce Moldova 4-0.
1997-98: Makes 31 league appearances for United, scoring eight goals, as they finish runners-up to Arsenal.
1998: May - Selected for England's World Cup squad.
June - Scores second goal as England win opening match of finals 2-0 versus Tunisia.
1999: March - Scores hat-trick in 3-1 win against Poland in Euro 2000 qualifier at Wembley.
May - United complete a historic treble of European Cup, Premier League and FA Cup but Scholes misses the European Cup final triumph over Bayern Munich through suspension.
June - Sent off in 0-0 draw against Sweden in Euro 2000 qualifier at Wembley.
November - Scores twice for England in 2-0 win over Scotland in Euro 2000 play-off first leg at Hampden Park.
2000: January - Misses World Club Championship for Manchester United after undergoing hernia operation.
June - Scores England's opening goal after just three minutes in the 3-2 defeat to Portugal in Euro 2000.
December - Criticises the appointment of Sven-Goran Eriksson as England coach, saying: "It's the England team and I'd like to see them with an English manager."
2001: June - Nets the opener in the crucial 2-0 win over Greece in England's World Cup qualifier in Athens.
July - Agrees new six-year deal at Old Trafford, joining several others at United in committing long-term to the club.
2001-02: Ends the domestic season with eight goals in 35 league appearances and is part of England's World Cup squad which reaches the quarter-finals.
2002-03: Scores a best-ever 14 league goals as United win their eighth Premier League title, including a hat-trick in a 6-2 win at Newcastle. Adds six goals in other competitions to finish the season with 20.
2004: February 14 - Makes his 400th appearance for United in an FA Cup fifth-round derby clash with Manchester City, scoring the first goal in a 4-2 win.
February 20 - Charged with violent conduct towards an opponent, Middlesbrough's Doriva, by the FA after an incident missed by referee Paul Durkin.
April 3 - Books United's place in the FA Cup final with the only goal in semi-final win over Arsenal at Villa Park.
April 19 - Banned for three matches with immediate effect by the Football Association for charge of violent conduct in relation to Doriva incident.
June - Plays in all four of England's games in Euro 2004, scoring his first international goal for three years in the 4-2 win over Croatia.
August 3 - Makes shock announcement he is retiring from international football.
2005: May 21 - Misses a penalty in the FA Cup final shoot-out as rivals Arsenal triumph in Cardiff following a goalless draw.
August 12 - Signs a new four-year deal with Manchester United to keep him at Old Trafford until 2009.
2006: January 24 - Ruled out for three months with an eye condition. But is out for even longer and does not play again until final game of the season.
October 22 - Makes 500th appearance for United against Liverpool at Old Trafford, scoring the first goal in a 2-0 victory.
2007: May - Helps United win ninth Premier League title.
October 29 - Ruled out for three months with knee ligament injury.
2008: April 29 - Scores winner in Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona to secure 1-0 aggregate triumph.
May 21 - Helps United win Champions League in Moscow, beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
2009: March 1 - Part of United side that beats Tottenham on penalties in Carling Cup final.
May - United regain Premier League title but go down 2-0 to Barcelona in Champions League final in Rome.
2010: February 28 - Helps United retain Carling Cup with 2-1 win over Aston Villa.
April 16 - Signs new one-year contract.
May - Helps United retain Premier League title. Rejects approach from England manager Fabio Capello to return to international football ahead of World Cup.
2011: April 16 - Sent off as United lose 1-0 to Manchester City in FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
May 14 - Helps United win record 19th English league title.
May 28 - Part of the United side beaten 3-1 by Barcelona in Champions League final at Wembley.