Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect.
The 36-year-old helped his club to a record-breaking 19th league title this season, but his last appearance was in the disappointing UEFA Champions League final defeat to Barcelona at Wembley on Saturday.
Salford-born Scholes, who joined United as a trainee in 1991 and went on to become a member of the stellar 'class of 92', will now remain at Old Trafford as a member of the coaching staff, possibly with the reserve team, from the start of the next campaign.
Having signed a one-year contract extension in April 2010, the former England international had been a bit-part player over the last season and it was rumoured that he had grown frustrated and was considering retiring from playing.
After 676 club appearances, Scholes confirmed what had become the inevitable on Tuesday morning, but boss Sir Alex Ferguson remains full of admiration, as he told United's official website: "What more can I say about Paul Scholes that I haven't said before.
"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 made his Premier League debut on 24th September 1994 against Ipswich and by 1998 was a regular first-team player for both United and England.
The ever-humble midfielder helped United to their historic Treble in 1999, although he missed the dramatic Champions League final due to suspension, and was a part of the England squads at both the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
Scholes retired from international football on 3rd August 2004 in order to focus on his club career and he went on to become one of United's most decorated players after a succession of trophies, including the 2008 Champions League.
He said: "I am not a man of many words, but I can honestly say that playing football is all I have ever wanted to do and to have had such a long and successful career at Manchester United has been a real honour.
"This was not a decision that I have taken lightly but I feel now is the right time for me to stop playing.
"To have been part of the team that helped the Club reach that 19th title is a great privilege."
United chief executive David Gill said: "It is very sad day for Manchester United fans around the world.
"We all know that Paul was one of the players that came through the ranks of the Academy system in the 90s and has established himself as one of the greatest players to ever wear the United shirt.
"It is very important that the club keeps the associated with these great players and we are delighted that Paul will join the coaching staff."