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By the time Paul Scholes retired, even his terrible tackling ability became revered.
I have never seen a player spray the ball as accurately and consistently as Scholes. His vision and passing ability helped Manchester United dominate the last two decades, and his famous blasts from outside the area often gave the keeper no chance.
Barcelona legend Xavi perhaps said it best during his 2011 interview with The Daily Mail:
In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen—the most complete—is Scholes. I have spoken with Xabi Alonso about this many times. Scholes is a spectacular player who has everything.
He can play the final pass, he can score, he is strong, he never gets knocked off the ball and he doesn't give possession away. If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more.
If Xavi's compliments aren't enough, Zinedine Zidane also rates Scholes amongst the elite, as noted in his chat with The Daily Mirror (reported by The Daily Mail):
You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get. One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career.
He was an extremely tough opponent to play against. You didn't get any time on the ball when he was around. He would close you down and make your life terribly uncomfortable.
He is the type of player you want on your side, not in opposition because he could do so much damage. He is very gifted. He makes the game look easy because he's so much natural ability.
Every successful team needs a player like Scholes. His unending coolness in possession and ability to produce key passes is something David Moyes will need to replace at Old Trafford. Scholes is the best English player from the most dominant English club across the last twenty years, can his spot at number one be argued?
Major Honours—Premier League (x11), FA Cup (x3), League Cup (x2), Community Shield (x5), Champions League (x2), Intercontinental Cup, FIFA World Club Cup.