Veteran Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has announced his retirement from football, but will take up a coaching role at the club.
Scholes had been expected to retire following United’s loss to Barcelona in the Champions League final on Saturday, having grown tired of his bit-part role in Sir Alex Ferguson’s set-up.
But United will still be able to draw upon his experience as they enter their English Premier League defence next season, having signed the 36-year-old to a coaching role at Old Trafford.
“I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour,” Scholes said.
“This was not a decision that I have taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing.”
“To have been part of the team that helped the Club reach that 19th title is a great privilege.”
Scholes made his debut in the League Cup at Port Vale in the 1994/95 season and has since racked up an incredible 676 appearances for United to sit fourth on the all-time list behind Bill Foulkes, Bobby Charlton and Ryan Giggs.
Ferguson said he was thrilled to know Scholes – who won 10 Premier League titles with the club – would be joining him in the dugout next season.
“What more can I say about Paul Scholes that I haven’t said before,” the manager said.
“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.”
Added United chief executive David Gill: “It is very sad day for Manchester United fans around the world.”
“We all know that Paul was one of the players that came through the ranks of the academy system in the 90s and has established himself as one of the greatest players to ever wear the United shirt.”
“It is very important that the club keeps the associated with these great players and we are delighted that Paul will join the coaching staff.”
Scholes will bid farewell to the United faithful in a testimonial match in August.