Manchester United legendary midfielder Paul Scholes was asked who was the most awkward direct opponent he faced in his 784-game career and he gave a surprising answer.
SBS The World Game

14 May 2020 - 12:32 PM  UPDATED 14 May 2020 - 12:32 PM

Scholes was speaking to former teammate Robbie Savage on a BBC radio program and said that former Senegalese international Papa Bouba Diop was one of the hardest players to come up against. 

"Honestly, when I play centre-midfield I just want to have all the time in the world here, nobody around me. Find a little bit of space and just pass the ball around," he said.

"Then you come up against people like you (Savage). Absolute nuisance. Trying to elbow you, closing you down, quick. I don't want that, I just want a nice relaxing afternoon.   

"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. Playing one-twos, could score goals. 

"There's one more that people won't think of. We used to play against Portsmouth. Do you remember Papa Bouba Diop? Big, massive. They used to call him The Wardrobe!

"You get involved physically with him and you're wasting your time.

"I always found him awkward to play against. He wasn't a Vieira, of course he wasn't, but he still had talent.

"As far as players being awkward to play against. I always found him a nuisance."