Tom Brady and United players at Old Trafford.

Brady's NFL return follows United trip

Monday 14 March 2022 12:30

NFL legend Tom Brady, widely regarded as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time, was at Old Trafford this weekend - the day before making the headlines by coming out of retirement.

Earlier this year, Brady declared he was bringing the curtain down on his illustrious career after 22 seasons. A legend in every sense of the word, he holds numerous quarterback records, including passing yards, completions, touchdown passes, and games started.

Now 44, he announced on Sunday after his visit to United that he would return for a 23rd season of playing in the NFL by returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady joined the Bucs in 2020 from the New England Patriots, and led them to a Superbowl victory in his first season in Tampa.

Brady was in the stands at the Theatre of Dreams to witness Cristiano Ronaldo’s phenomenal hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, as the Portuguese icon became football’s all-time leading scorer with 807 goals for club and country.

Having met Sir Alex Ferguson before the game, Brady later linked up with some of United's first-team players on the pitch at Old Trafford. This included a special moment with Ronaldo, in which two worlds collided as the sporting greats embraced each other.
Brady’s retirement u-turn reminds us of Paul Scholes’ similar decision back in 2012.

The genius United midfielder announced the end of his playing career on 31 May 2011 but just eight months later, amid an injury crisis at Old Trafford, he realised he had hung up his boots too soon and he offered to rejoin Sir Alex's squad.

"Within 30 seconds, the manager was on the phone to [chief executive] David Gill to sort the contract out,” recalled Scholes, in his episode of UTD Podcast.

Paul helped United to knock Manchester City out of the FA Cup in January 2012 and went on to make 42 appearances across a season and a half before retiring again, this time permanently, at the end of the 2012/13 campaign.

Scholes's story and Brady’s decision demonstrate the determination and passion that are essential characteristics for a successful sportsman. And they're also mirrored by Ronaldo, who, at 37, still continues to perform at the top of his game and cement his status as one of the greatest players to ever grace the game.

It does beg the question, what would Ronaldo’s numbers look like should he carry on playing until he's the same age as Brady, 44?

Having broken the world scoring record in the game against Spurs, and with 18 goals and three assists so far this season, he’s certainly showing no sign of slowing down.