"If he had been Spanish then maybe he would have been valued more..."
Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Xavi's summation of Paul Scholes says much about the approach to football in the two countries and the particular gifts of the former Manchester United and England player.
Never a fan of off the field antics, Scholes was also often overshadowed on the pitch by the more flamboyant skills of Cantona, Giggs, Ronaldo and Rooney.
But Xavi is in no doubt as to the Salford born player's place in the game.
"In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen — the most complete — is Scholes," he continued in an interview with Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, quietly choosing to forget Scholes horrendous ability for mistiming tackles.
Former French star Zinedine Zidane agrees, calling Scholes "the greatest midfielder of his generation".
Scholes decision to retire, announced today (May 31), could well promote a surge in the collectibles market for the player, particularly match-worn shirts.
With a finite number of such shirts available, they may well increase significantly in price over the coming years.
Signed items could be especially popular with those looking to make alternative investments, as they offer the double delight of the player's own hand and the history of the match in which they played.
With prices likely to escalate, buyers on the private market should act quickly to capture any remaining bargains.
Expect a similar spike to occur when David Beckham finally calls it a day. Scholes' former Manchester United teammate is currently playing for LA Galaxy, although a return to the Premiership almost transpired with Tottenham earlier in the season.
Alan Ball's England shirt from the 1966 World Cup Final sold for £51,755 at Convery Auctions last year.
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