LONDON, England, May 31 – Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes on Tuesday announced his retirement from football with immediate effect and said he will join the club's coaching staff.
The 36-year-old made 676 appearances for the club, with his last coming as a a second-half substitute as United lost 3-1 to Barcelona in Saturday’s Champions League final at Wembley.
The midfielder won 10 Premier League titles as well as two Champions Leagues and the FA Cup three times in a career spent entirely at United.
There had been growing speculation about his future in recent weeks as he grew dissatisfied with his increasingly bit-part role at Old Trafford.
Announcing his retirement, he said: "This was not a decision I have taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing."
"I am not a man of many words but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do," he said.
"To have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour.
"To have been part of the team that helped the club reach a record 19th title is a great privilege."
Scholes paid tribute to Alex Ferguson, calling him a "great manager".
"From the day I joined the club his door has always been open and I know this team will go on to win many more trophies under his leadership," he said.
His role within the United coaching set-up has still to be outlined, although there could be an opening available with the reserves, where Warren Joyce has been acting alone since the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Scholes will be granted a testimonial match in August.
"What more can I say about Paul Scholes that I haven’t said before," said Ferguson.
"We are going to miss a truly unbelievable player.
"Paul has always been fully committed to this club and I am delighted he will be joining the coaching staff from next season.
"Paul has always been inspirational to players of all ages and we know that will continue in his new role."
Scholes was part of United’s "Class of 92", from which David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville also emerged. Neville also ended his United career this season.
Scholes won 66 England caps and played at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, but retired from international football in a shock announcement in 2004 at the age of 29.
England coach Fabio Capello tried in vain to persuade him to return for last year’s World Cup.