Having won 10 Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups, two Champions League titles and five FA Community Shields, Paul Scholes’s passion for Manchester United is unequivocal. He made a winning return to the side last season but will his decision to put his boots back on prove to be the right one? Let’s look at other athletes that have made comebacks with contrasting fortunes…
Michael Jordan retired from basketball in 1993. Whilst he cited lack of desire and ambition after leading the Chicago Bulls to three championship titles, it was suggested that the decision was based on the recent murder of his father. Jordan returned to basketball in 1995 and led the Chicago Bulls to three more championship titles. He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2009 with its website declaring him «… the greatest basketball player of all time.»
Cycling legend, Lance Armstrong, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 aged only 25, with a chance of survival at less than 40%. However, two years later he returned to the sport and went on to claim seven Tour de France titles, creating a rivalry with Jan Ullrich that is viewed as one of the greatest conflicts in sporting history.
At 24 Kim Clijsters retired from professional tennis in 2007 having won three Grand Slams and been runner up in four more. She stated that her health and private family life were more important to her as she was constantly beset by injuries. After becoming a mother in 2008 she returned to the sport the very next year winning The US Open in 2009 and 2010 and the Australian Open title in 2011. She now boasts a total tournament tally of 41 WTA singles titles and 11 WTA doubles titles and is the only mother to have won a major title since Yvonne Goolagong in 1980.
Few people have dominated their sport in the way Michael Schumacher did. Not only did Schumacher win the World Championship an unprecedented seven times, he continues to hold many driver records including most race victories, fastest laps, pole positions, points scored and most races won in a single season (13). He became the only driver in Formula One history to finish in the top three in every race of a season and then also broke the record for most consecutive podium finishes. Having retired in 2007, two years later he made a comeback with Team Sauber Mercedes but his former success has eluded him. Last season he failed to register a podium place and finished 316 points behind eventual winner, Sebastian Vettel.
Mike Tyson burst into boxing by becoming the youngest boxer to conquer the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles. His sporting career halted in 1992 when, following a very high profile trial, he served three years in prison for rape. Tyson made a series of comebacks but lost his heavyweight crowns to Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. Despite earning over £300 million dollars during his boxing career he was declared bankrupt in 2003.
So was Paul Scholes’s decision the right one? As a Football PR agency we would love to hear your thoughts – tweet us @ENSLtdsportPR