Manchester United legend Paul Scholes puts himself up for auction on the internet… Seriously.

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Paul Scholes is one of the greatest natural midfielders Manchester United and England have ever produced.

But now he’s up for sale.

Online.

But don’t worry, the Manchester United legend hasn’t lost the plot, it’s all for a good cause. The highest bidder will get the chance to play alongside Scholes in a charity game to help pay for renovations to Stalybridge Celtic Juniors’ clubhouse.

For a man who shirked the media spotlight for most of his illustrious career, this noble act by Scholes may go unnoticed internationally. But it’s incredibly cool.

The bidding is going reasonably well with almost $10,000 raised and there’s six days left in the bidding, so if you want to play alongside the ‘Ginger Genius’ find out more info here.

Scholes’ son currently plays for Stalybridge’s Junior team, so there’s the reason why the 38-year-old soccer star is putting his name next to this auction bid.

According to the auction on eBay: “Paul Scholes comes out of retirement to play in the annual Stalybridge Celtic Juniors Coaches vs Dads fundraiser on Friday 26 July, Kick off 7:30pm.” And the auction promised 45 minutes to “play alongside one of the greatest midfielders of a generation.” But it also states that, “Paul may be substituted in the final ten minutes to avoid him getting mobbed for autographs at the final whistle.”

Classic.

So when will you ever get the chance to say you played alongside one of “Fergie’s Fledglings?” You’re thinking about it, aren’t you.

(MORE: Paul Scholes turns down Manchester United coaching job)

Scholes played 718 times for Manchester United, scoring 155 goals and accrued 66 caps for England despite retiring from the international scene way back in 2004. Several England managers have tried to make him change his mind since. But to no avail.

Scholes retired (for the second-time after being persuaded to return) in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge of United at the end of last season, after playing in every EPL season since the 1994-95 campaign.

The world legend gets banded about too openly in today’s game. But Scholes is a legend.

When so many other player have let fame and fortune get in the way, Scholes has put his family first and stayed out of the spotlight.

Now all he’s asking for is a donation to help his son and his teammates have some new facilities at their aging club.

Not a bad trade off after getting to witness his years of brilliance, right?

Premier League notes: Wanyama, Bolasie return after long layoffs, Sakho injured

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Two Premier League clubs saw a pair of players return to the field after long spells on the sidelines.

Tottenham revealed that Victor Wanyama took part in training on Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in late August, which has kept him off the field since then. Wanyama started in both of Tottenham’s first two fixtures of the season before the injury.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

At the same time in the northwest of England, Yannick Bolasie returned to the field for Everton’s reserves for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last December against Manchester United. Everton manager Sam Allardyce hinted recently that Bolasie could even make the first team subs bench before the end of the calendar year as he continues his rehab.

(more…)

Report: Sporting KC on verge of signing French midfielder Croizet

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Sporting Kansas City could be adding some European flair to its midfield this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the MLS club is in negotiations to sign French midfielder Yohan Croizet, who currently plays for Belgian first division side KV Mechelen. Croizet, who reportedly cost Mechelen a transfer fee worth more than $1 million, has started all 15 games he’s played for his side this season but has been substituted off on seven occasions and Mechelen are currently struggling in the league, sitting in 13th place with 18 points from 18 games.

Croizet hasn’t played since November 17, and appears on his way out.

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Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, a Hungarian-American, is no stranger to the European market and has brought over plenty of diamonds in the rough from Europe to star with Sporting KC. Some previous examples, though in different positions from Croizet, include current winger Gerso, Krisztián Németh, Uri Rosell, and Aurelien Collin.

It will be interesting to see where Croizet plays in the Sporting KC side should it sign him, and how he works with Benny Feilhaber, who is turning 33-years old in January.

Arsenal lands Ostersunds in Europa League draw

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Arsenal will face a team with an English connection in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

The Gunners were paired with Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League knockout stage draw Monday, with matches set to be played on February 15 and February 22. Ostersund are managed by Englishman Graham Potter, who played in the Championship and lower in England before starting his managerial career with Ostersunds in 2010 in the fourth tier of Swedish soccer.

[READ: UCL draw+analysis]

Ostersunds surprised many earlier this year winning the Swedish Cup to qualify for the Europa League, and then advanced out of a group that included Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao.

It represents an interesting draw for Arsenal, which will have to balance the squad during a tough February. The weekend prior to the first-leg match is the second leg of the North London derby against Tottenham, and following the second match with Ostersunds is a showdown with Manchester City.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the draw shook out:

Champions League last 16 draw sets up huge clashes

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The Round of 16 draw for the UEFA Champions League did not disappoint.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

We have some monster clashes with Chelsea facing Barcelona, once again, and the reigning champs Real Madrid paired with the favorites Paris Saint-Germain.

With five Premier League teams remaining, Tottenham have been handed a tough draw against Italian champions Juventus who were also runners up in the UCL last season, while Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool will all be rather happy with their draws.

United have been drawn against Spanish side Sevilla, Liverpool will face FC Porto and Man City clash with Basel.

Below is the draw in full, while UEFA has also released the schedule for the games with Man City, Spurs, Liverpool and Man United all playing their second legs at home.