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Manchester United legend Paul Scholes names his three toughest opponents

OPaul Scholes reminisces on some of his toughest opponents during his Premier League career
OPaul Scholes reminisces on some of his toughest opponents during his Premier League career
Varun Totadri
Modified 22 Sep 2020, 15:36 IST

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes is undoubtedly one of the greatest players to have ever played in the Premier League.

Scholes is regarded by pundits, current players, and former footballing greats as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. Over the length of his career, Scholes has received praise from other managers and players, including Xavi Hernandez. In 2014, Xavi said that Scholes was "the best central midfielder" he had seen in the previous 15 to 20 years, describing him as "a spectacular player who has everything."

Scholes came through the Manchester United youth academy, and went on to make 718 appearances for United, the third-highest number of appearances by any player for the club. With United, Scholes won 25 trophies including 11 Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions League titles.

Speaking on Savage Social, Paul Scholes revealed the toughest opponents he faced during his 20 year career at the top of English Football with Manchester United.

Paul Scholes shocks fans and peers with his picks for the top 3 toughest opponents he has faced in his career

Robbie Savage gets a surprise mention is Scholes
Robbie Savage gets a surprise mention is Scholes' elite list

Many fans would have thought Scholes would have named Liverpool great Steven Gerrard and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard as his toughest opponents, but Scholes surprised everyone with some of his picks.

Paul Scholes surprisingly named former Fulham midfielder Papa Bouba Diop amongst his toughest opponents. Scholes said, "We used to play against Portsmouth. Do you remember Papa Bouba Diop? Big, massive. They used to call him the 'Wardrobe'. You get involved with him physically and you're wasting your time. I always founds him awkward to play against."

The next player on Paul Scholes' list will not come as a surprise to anyone. Scholes named former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira as one of his top three toughest opponents. Patrick Vieira is one of the greats of the game, and is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders to ever play in the English Premier League.


Vieira led Arsenal to three league titles and three FA Cups, which included 'the invincibles' season in 2003-04. During his nine-year stint in the Premier League, Vieira established himself as a dominating box-to-box midfielder, noted for his aggressive and highly competitive style of play.

When talking about Patrick Vieira, Paul Scholes said, "I suppose Patrick Vieira, you play against him he is so long, he is so big. You think you've got the ball, and the next minute he nicks it over your head. He was a clever player as well."

The third and final player that Scholes named in his list, will come as a shock to most. Paul Scholes named Robbie Savage as one of the toughest midfielders he played against in the Premier League.


"When I played central midfield, I like to go into game thinking - I just want to have all the time in the world here, just nobody around me, just find a little bit of space and pass the ball around."

"Then you play against people like Robbie (Savage). An absolute nuisance, trying to close you down dead quick. I don't want that, I just want it nice and relaxed," Scholes said.

Published 22 Sep 2020, 15:36 IST
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