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Scholes ready to bow out

Alex Ferguson is facing a battle to persuade Paul Scholes to extend his Manchester United career by one more year - with the 36-year-old understood to be preparing to hang up his boots following the Champions League final against Barcelona later this month, writes Mark Ogden.

Scholes, who sits in fourth position in United's all-time appearance charts with 674 outings, was persuaded to sign a 12-month contract by Ferguson in the final weeks of last season after considering retirement.

But Ferguson's prospects of convincing Scholes to commit himself again appear to be bleak, despite Scholes having appeared in 21 of United's 37 league games.

It has even been suggested Scholes has told friends that his inability to lay claim to a regular position, unlike 37-year-old team-mate Ryan Giggs, has persuaded him that the time is right to retire.

United chief executive David Gill has suggested the club are now bracing themselves for the Salford-born player quitting.

"It wouldn't surprise us if Paul retired. On the one hand, we are enjoying the success we are having, so at the end of the season, he will have a conversation with Alex about that," said Gill."It is interesting that while Ryan got his 12th title on Saturday, that was Paul's 10th. It shows what he has achieved." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent