Paul Scholes, Venous Occlusion, and Retinal Hemorrhages

“I can remember it clearly,” says Scholes, recalling the day he first realised something was wrong. “We were playing at Birmingham and in the last 10 minutes I could see a ball coming towards me. Then it suddenly felt like there were three or four balls coming towards me. I thought I just had a migraine. But I went to see a specialist when it still hadn’t gone and they found the problem after that.

“It was worrying, not just as a footballer but also a person with a family. They thought it was quite serious at first and were asking me for my family’s medical history, talking about whether there was a history of bleeding or heart disease, stuff like that. Then they diagnosed what the problem was and there was a small chance, I believe, it could have ended my career. But I never thought like that. I always thought I would be back and playing. There’s still a little bit of blurring but I am totally used to it now.”

The specialists diagnosed a blocked vein that was causing bleeding behind his right eye and Scholes was ordered to take a complete rest from physical activity for six months. He still needs regular check-ups but, refreshed, he is playing as well as he ever has done, his fellow professionals voting him third behind his team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba for Player of the Year.