Long-serving Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes announced his retirement for a second time on Saturday - just days after veteran manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he would be standing down at the end of the season.
Former English international Scholes, 38, first quit in 2011 to take up a position on United's coaching staff but returned to first team action in January last year. "Yes, I am finally hanging up my boots for good," said Scholes, who is expected to make his first appearance since January in Sunday's Premier League match against Swansea City at Old Trafford - Ferguson's final home match as United manager.
"Playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United, under the greatest manager of all time, has been an honour," Scholes added.
The one-club man came through the United system revitalised by Ferguson, becoming one of the Scot's favourites players and arguably the best English midfielder of his generation. "Paul is a truly unbelievable player," Ferguson said Saturday. "He has always been fully committed to this club and it has been a real privilege to work with him for so many years.
"Paul will play at Old Trafford on Sunday against Swansea and will collect an unbelievable but well-deserved 11th Premier League medal."
Scholes will be making his 498th Premier League appearance for United on Sunday and the 716th of his career with the Old Trafford club. He scored the last of his 155 United goals against FA Cup winners Wigan back in September.
Frustration with the England set-up led Scholes to cut short his international career at the early age of 29 although Fabio Capello tried to entice him back for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. However, Scholes turned the Italian down - a decision the player later said he regretted.