Michael Carrick made literally thousands of passes during his time at Manchester United.
His style was completely at odds with the English game but, at the same time, so crucial to Man United continued success under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Every pass Carrick made was special because each one had an element of character, of personal design. The way it was hit, or rather guided, along the turf in such metronomic, calculated fashion – only Carrick could do it. He had his own type of pass.
But to the man himself, there were two which stood out for him during his 12 years at Old Trafford.
“One was for Chicha [Javier Hernandez] against Chelsea in the [2012-13] FA Cup at Old Trafford, over the top and he scored a header,” he said.
“Then Berba [Dimitar Berbatov], Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in the [2008-09] FA Cup… they were just two moments when you see the pass and you execute it, and it plays out exactly like that picture you had before it happens. Sometimes you play a pass, and you get there, but it wasn’t quite exactly how you see it, or it didn’t fall how you like it.”
That first one for Chicharito came during Carrick’s best season at United – that final campaign under Sir Alex Ferguson when he became Paul Scholes circa 2009: so mature, so in control, so crucial. The pass in question almost defied logic. Without looking – with his eyes, at least – Carrick cut open about seven Chelsea players and the keeper with a long range reverse diagonal pass which landed perfectly on the head of Hernandez, looping into the net.
The next one for Berbatov was arguably even more precise. Receiving the ball from Scholes just inside the Spurs half, Carrick, with the side of his foot, hits a pass first time so perfectly it bypasses every white shirt and lands straight at the feet of Berbatov, almost as if he was playing a computer game with cheats on, before the Bulgarian does the rest.
United will never have a player like him again.