Scholes gives fans stunning farewell present
Published 06/08/2011 | 05:00
Paul Scholes last night marked his Manchester United farewell with a trademark stunner as the champions eased to an emphatic win over the New York Cosmos in his testimonial.
The 36-year-old United legend, who retired at the end of last season, opened the scoring at a sell-out Old Trafford with a fierce 20-yard strike after just eight minutes.
Scholes left the field to a standing ovation after 75 minutes as United, featuring a number of players who may feature in the Community Shield tomorrow, enjoyed a comfortable run-out.
The famously reticent Scholes -- who made 676 appearances and scored 150 goals in a glittering 17-year United career that included 10 Premier League titles -- had certainly lived up to his pre-match hope.
"I'm not someone that likes too much attention and tonight that's what it is about," Scholes said before the game. "All eyes are going to be on me, watching everything I do. I just hope I have a good game.
"I know how good these fans have been. They have been really good to me over the past 16 or 17 years so hopefully I can do something to make them happy. Let's just hope it's a good game and there are plenty of goals."
Despite the proximity of the match to tomorrow's season-opening Wembley clash against Manchester City, United boss Alex Ferguson honoured Scholes by fielding a strong team alongside him.
The occasion also gave United fans the chance to pay tribute to another club legend, Eric Cantona, now director of soccer at the Cosmos.
Cantona greeted Scholes before kick-off and was given a reception far louder than that afforded to all-time great Pele, who is part of the reborn Cosmos' promotional drive.
The revived American team are hoping to earn a place in Major League Soccer in 2013 and relive their 1970s glory days when a previous incarnation of the team featured Pele and Johan Cruyff.
They lined up with an invitational team filled with familiar names including two of Scholes' former United team-mates in Gary Neville and Nicky Butt. Former Arsenal and Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira came off the bench in the second half and received the only boos of the night.
Scholes, who also won 66 England caps, set the game alight as the crowd beckoned him to shoot from outside the box early on.
Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel had little chance of keeping out a powerful effort that flew into the top corner.
Despite the routine nature of some of the contest, it was a genuine top-class strike evocative of so many from a fine career.
Scholes turned down the chance to add a second from the penalty spot, as Wayne Rooney did the honours after a foul on Ashley Young before Anderson, one of seven half-time changes, added a third after 50 minutes.
Danny Welbeck claimed the fourth after a defensive mix-up and Mame Biram Diouf beat substitute goalkeeper Chad Calderone twice in quick succession to complete the scoring.
Scholes, who made his debut in 1994, returned to the pitch after the game to address the crowd.
"I hope I gave them a few decent memories," he said, rather modestly.