Widely acknowledged as the best attacking midfielder of his day, Paul Scholes is as simple as he is brilliant. He personifies the ideal sportsman. Though not without his own minute set of flaws, he is in my opinion, and of countless others, the perfect footballer. He sets a bar too high for any other footballer of this generation to meet. Yes, we will have the flair and dazzle of many other players, but, none can match Scholesy in terms of his level of perfection and excellence.
Part of the famous 1992 FA Youth Cup winning Manchester United team, christened Fergie's Fledglings, Paul Scholes was always destined for greatness. He has been a pivotal part of Manchester United's midfield for the last 20-odd years. He is undoubtedly one of the most naturally gifted footballers in the World. With his mind boggling movement, unmatched vision, elegant composure on the ball, inch perfect passing, both long and short, and a rocket of a right foot shot, Scholes is the ultimate midfielder. There has always been debate about his tackling ability which, I admit, is not the most refined. But, hey, nobody's perfect. Despite his stout figure, he is known for his dominance on the pitch. He can control the midfield like a puppeteer.
Known as The Ginger Prince, or Ginger Ninja, he pierces the sternest of defenses with his passing, and scores some insanely awesome goals. Here you can see him striking his famous goal against Barcelona at Old Trafford. It was the second leg of the 2007-08 Champions' League Semi-Final which Manchester United won 1-0 on aggregate; this was the only goal in 180 minutes of football over 2 legs. United went on to beat Chelsea and win the Champions' League that year.
I count myself one among the innumerable youths to have been inspired by him; not by his football, cause I suck on the field, but by his persona. He's a man of simple nature. He comes to the ground, trains, goes home. On match-day, he plays in his usual Central Midfield role. He gives his 110% and produces an unquestionably brilliant performance irrespective of the result.
He has always been dedicated to Manchester United and pledged his entire career to the club. Such sincerity and loyalty are rare qualities, seen in only a chosen few of his generation. In his Autobiography, he writes that he faced a difficult time when United signed Juan Sebastian Veron, as Scholesy was pushed into the right wing, but stated that was ready to play in a Manchester United Shirt in whichever position he was asked to do so by the manager.
As loud and expressive as he is on the pitch, he is known to be an equally 'shy' and quiet individual in person. He rarely gives interviews. I'm pretty sure he has avoided the press all through his career. In a rare interview in 2003, he described his perfect day as: train in the morning, pick up my kids from school, play with them, have tea, put them to bed and watch a bit of TV.
Talent, fame and the honor of being a regular face in the Manchester United line-up for almost two decades failed to lift his feet off the ground. He is known to be as modest as anyone you'll ever meet. He has a passion for football. For Manchester United. His life has always been about going out there, on that pitch and giving it all he's got and never giving up.
No controversies... No serious speculations about him wanting to leave Manchester United... No fits of rage... No run-ins with the wrong kind of people. No bad press... Just a brilliant performer on the field and an ideal family man off it.
Paul Scholes is the perfect inspiration. He is my idol. He signifies what I strive to be: Attain perfection in whatever passions I have, be dedicated to my goal and work consistently towards achieving it, and, most importantly remembering never to lose myself along the way.
In my eyes, the best midfielder, and the most complete footballer the world has seen, or ever will see: Paul Scholes.
Nothing but Respect.