Paul Scholes was the ultimate one-club player, spending his entire career at Manchester United. He played 718 times for United, the third highest number in the club's history after Ryan Giggs and Bobby Charlton. In that time he scored 155 goals, won 11 Premiership titles, two Champions Leagues, three FA Cups, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Former France player Zinedine Zidane described Scholes as "undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation".
Scholes turned professional on July 23, 1993, but did not break into the senior squad until the 1994-95 season. The following campaign, Scholes cemented his place as a first-team regular, and United won the league and FA Cup double. He won another trophy the following season, when he also adopted the number 18 shirt that he was to wear until his temporary retirement.
He was a key player alongside Giggs, David Beckham and Roy Keane as United won their famous treble in 1999, scoring in the FA Cup win over Newcastle. Sadly for Scholes he was suspended for the famous 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. Victory over Chelsea in the same competition nine years later, was all the sweeter for that earlier disappointment.
Scholes was hugely successful at international level, winning 66 caps and scoring 14 times. He had plenty of highlights in an England shirt, most notably a hat-trick against Poland in 1999, plus a brace of goals against Scotland in a Euro 2000 play-off match.
Unfortunately for England fans, he retired prematurely in 2004, having become disillusioned with being asked to play on the left side of midfield to accommodate Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. Such was his continued prowess, however, that Fabio Capello attempted – and failed – to persuade him to return to the international fold for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.