Papers: Scholes shines on
One calls the shots, the other calls time
For a man who used to dominate the spotlight at Old Trafford, David Beckham's entrance and exit was very much from the wings. Surplus to requirements at Manchester United seven years ago, no longer deemed good enough to contest a match of this magnitude against them. And what will Beckham have been thinking as he sat on the bench last night staring out at Paul Scholes - still plying his trade at the top level for the club he loved. Something the central midfielder is set to do again next season. The pair won a youth cup together back in 1992 as their United dream began. Beckham bagged six titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League in his professional career here. Scholes' sideboard continues to require reinforcing. And while just six months separates Becks, 34, and Scholes, 35, one still influences games at the very highest level, one stopped doing that a long time ago. Beckham's millions, earning power and celebrity status will forever dwarf his old team-mate. But what he could not achieve is the dream of playing for United all his life and retiring a United legend. His career just lost its way in a blaze of flashbulbs, headlines and trivia. Had it not, he could have been there alongside Scholes last night. As he disappeared down the Old Trafford tunnel for the final time he must have known that too. Neil Custis, The Sun
United's cakewalk to the quarter-finals of the Champions League coincided with a shock exit for former Red Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid - a deal which, according to The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel, has paid an extra dividend for the Reds. "Losing Ronaldo has, strangely, given Manchester United a new player," he writes. "On nights like this, Wayne Rooney would once have been consigned to the wide channels, with Ronaldo played down the centre. Freed of these responsibilities, Rooney has taken flight this season."
Ronaldo's Old Trafford legacy lives on, and his 42-goal haul of 2007/08 is fast becoming a legitimate target for red-hot Rooney, who sits on 30 goals this term after his brace against Milan. Sir Alex Ferguson claims his number 10 will aim for the Portuguese winger's fabled tally. "It's a challenge," says the United manager. "I am happy he's got to the 30 mark but to be honest, he just keeps on improving."