Read the headline. Now read it again. Don’t believe me? I’m having a hard time believing it myself. Paul Scholes, one of the most iconic and successful Manchester United players of all time, came out of retirement just in time for United to play Manchester City in the third round of the FA Cup.
It was a move that was announced mere hours before Manchester divided kicked off. Scholes, 37, retired at the end of last season after helping United to a record 19th top-flight title, and the 10th with the ginger legend as a key cog in their midfield.
Scholes has been helping out his club as a coach, but has said he missed playing more than he thought he would. Sir Alex Ferguson stated he always thought Scholesy had another year or two in him. United’s squad, in particular their midfield, has been ravaged by injury this year.
Tom Cleverly, seen by many as the ideal replacement to Scholes, started brilliantly but has been hurt most of the year. Darren Fletcher is out long-term with a freak illness and Ashley Young is suffering from an ankle issue. Ryan Giggs is still brilliant, but cannot play every day at 38 years old. All this adds up to the perfect storm for Scholes to come back. And to come back when he did and participate in a thrilling match only adds to his legend.
Scholes came on as a 60th minute sub in the 3rd round FA Cup clash between the top two teams in England with United leading 3-1. He started a little sloppy, but became very involved as the match wore on and United held on for a 3-2 win in an instant classic.
Scholes has 466 club appearances, 150 club goals and 66 caps and 14 goals for England. He has won the Premier League 10 times, Champions League twice, FA Cup 3 times, League Cup twice, and Community Shield five times.
In the short the man has been nothing less than a legend. But if he helps United to a FA Cup/Premier League/Europa League title after coming out of retirement he may have secured the greatest part of his legacy of all.