PAUL SCHOLES named Papa Bouba Diop as one of the toughest opponents he came up against.
The former Fulham, Portsmouth and Senegal international sadly passed away at the age of 42 in November 2020.
Diop died after a long illness, with his former clubs paying tribute to the 2008 FA Cup winner.
The ex-Lens ace was also part of the Senegal side that shocked world champions France in the opening game of the 2002 World Cup.
Manchester United legend Scholes, 46, came up against the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Zinedine Zidane during his career.
In fact, over his 718 appearances for the Red Devils, Scholes faced virtually every great player of his generation.
The ex-England star told Savage Social: “When I played central midfield I like to go into games thinking ‘I just want to have all the time in the world here, just nobody around me, just find a little bit of space and pass the ball around’.
“Then you play against people like you (Robbie Savage).
“An absolute nuisance, trying to close you down dead quick. I don’t want that, I just want it nice and relaxed.
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“The way I played I didn’t really have to beat people or be stronger, quicker than the other person.
“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. 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.”