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Ryan Giggs

Ryan Joseph Giggs OBE[2] (born Ryan Joseph Wilson on 29 November 1973 in Canton, Cardiff) is a Welsh footballer who has played for Manchester United for the entirety of his club career to-date. He established himself as a left-winger during the 1990s and continued in this position well into the 2000s, but more recently playing in a deeper playmaking role.

Giggs holds a host of football records, including that of being the most decorated player in English football history. On 11 May 2008, he became the first footballer to collect 10 top division English league title medals. Giggs was the first player in history to win two consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year awards (1992 and 1993) and is the only player to have played and scored in every single season of the Premier League since its inception, also holding the league's record for most all time goal assists.[3]

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Giggs has had a long-lasting domestic and continental career and is the first player in UEFA Champions League history to have scored in 12 successive seasons, on top of being elected into the PFA Team of the Century in 2007,[4] the English Premier League Team of the Decade, in 2003, as well as the FA Cup Team of the Century. Giggs is also the only United player to have played in all 10 Premier League winning teams and all three League Cup winning teams. At the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, held on 21 May 2008, Giggs surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances for Manchester United to become the club's all-time leader in appearances.[5]

At international level, Giggs played for the Welsh national team prior to his retirement from international football on 2 June 2007, and was once the youngest player to ever represent his country. As well as the many honours Giggs has received within football such as being named in the Football League 100 Legends, he was awarded an OBE in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours List, and was inducted into the exclusive English Football Hall of Fame in 2005, for his services to English Football.

Early years

Giggs was born at St David's Hospital in Canton, Cardiff, Wales, to Danny Wilson, a rugby union player for Cardiff RFC, and Lynne Giggs (now Lynne Johnson). As a child, Giggs grew up in Ely, a suburb of western Cardiff, but spent much time with his mother's parents and playing football on the roads outside their house in Pentrebane. In 1980, when Giggs was six years old, his father switched rugby codes and signed for Swinton RLC, forcing the whole family to move north to Manchester. The move was a traumatic one, as Giggs was very close to his grandparents in Cardiff, but he would often return there with his family at weekends or on school holidays. Giggs is mixed race — his paternal grandfather is from Sierra Leone — and has spoken of the racism he faced as a child.[6]

After moving to Manchester, Giggs appeared for the local team, Deans FC, who were coached by Manchester City scout Dennis Schofield. His first game for Deans ended in a 9–0 defeat to Stretford Vics, but, nevertheless, many people commented to Giggs that he was the best player on the pitch that day. Schofield recommended Giggs to Manchester City, and he was signed up to their School of Excellence. Meanwhile, Giggs continued to play for Salford Boys, who went on to reach the final of the Granada Schools Cup competition at Anfield in 1987. Giggs captained the Salford team to victory over their Blackburn counterparts, and the trophy was presented to him by Liverpool chief scout Ron Yeats. Yeats was impressed by Giggs' performance, and would have recommended him to the Liverpool management, had Giggs not already been picked up by Manchester United.

While playing for Deans, Giggs would be watched regularly by local newsagent and Old Trafford steward Harold Wood. Wood regularly told the senior staff at Manchester United about Giggs, but they did not send anyone down to watch him until Wood spoke personally to Alex Ferguson. Wood told the United boss "He's with City at the moment, and if you lose him you'll regret it". So Ferguson sent a scout to a Deans match, who was impressed enough that United offered Giggs a trial over the Christmas period in 1986. Prior to the trial, Giggs played in a match for Salford Boys against a United Under-15s side at The Cliff and scored a hat trick, with Ferguson watching from his office window. The following November, on Giggs' 14th birthday, Ferguson turned up at Giggs's house with United scout Joe Brown and offered him two years on associate schoolboy forms. They also waived YTS forms, and persuaded Giggs with the opportunity to turn professional in three years. Giggs signed there and then.

He represented England at Schoolboy level (using the name Ryan Wilson) playing at Wembley Stadium against Germany in 1989. Ryan changed his surname at the age of 16, two years after his parents' separation, so "the world would know he was his mother's son."[7] Lawrie McMenemy, then-coach of the England under-21 team, checked to see whether Giggs was eligible to play for England. However, he was rebuffed after finding that Giggs had no English grandparents, and was only available to play for Wales.

Manchester United first team

Overview

 

Giggs made his first appearance for the club during the 1990-91 season and has been a regular player since the 1991-92 season. He has played the most competitive games for the club, and holds the club record of team trophies won by a player (23).[8] Since 1992, he has collected ten Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals. He also has runner-up medals from two FA Cup finals and two Football League Cup finals, as well as being part of four United teams to have finished second in the league. In recent years, Giggs has captained the team on numerous occasions, particularly in the 2007–08 season when regular captain Gary Neville was ruled out with various injuries.

Debut and breakthrough season

Giggs turned professional on 29 November 1990 (his 17th birthday) and made his League debut against Everton at Old Trafford on 2 March 1991, as a substitute for Denis Irwin in a 2–0 defeat. In his first full start, Giggs was credited with his first ever goal in a 1–0 win in the Manchester derby on 4 May 1991, though it appeared to be a Colin Hendry own goal. However, he was not included in the squad of 16 that defeated Barcelona in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final 11 days later.

He became a first-team regular early in the 1991-92 season, yet remained active with the youth system - captaining the team, made up of many of "Fergie's Fledglings", to an FA Youth Cup triumph in 1992. Giggs broke into the first team even though he was still aged only 17, and paved the way as the first of many Manchester United youth players to rise into the first team under Ferguson; a mark of his skill and maturity in the early years of his career. That season, Giggs played in the team that finished as runners-up to Leeds United in the final year of the old First Division before the advent of the Premier League. Giggs collected his first piece of silverware on 12 April 1992 as United defeated Nottingham Forest in the League Cup Final, after Giggs had set up Brian McClair to score the only goal of the game. At the end of the season, he was voted PFA Young Player of the Year.

Early career

By the start of the 1992-93 season - the first season of the newly formed Premier League, Giggs was firmly established as United's first choice left winger, and became known as one of British football's most prodigious young players. His emergence and the arrival of Eric Cantona heralded the dominance of United in the new league. His manager was very protective of him, refusing to allow Giggs to be interviewed until he turned 20, eventually granting the first interview to the BBC's Des Lynam for Match of the Day in the 1993-94 season.

He was afforded many opportunities which were not normally offered to footballers at his young age, such as hosting his own television show, Ryan Giggs' Soccer Skills, which aired in 1994. A book based on the series was also released. Giggs was part of the league's attempt to market itself globally, re-forging its image after the hooliganism-blighted years of the 1980s and was featured in countless football and lad mag covers, becoming a household name. Despite his aversion to attention, Giggs had also become a teenage pin-up at the time and was once described as the "Premiership's First Poster Boy",[9] and the "boy wonder"[10] - where he was arguably the original footballer who catapulted the term into the public lexicon. He was hailed as the first football star to capture the public imagination in such a popular way unseen since the days of George Best,[11] and the irony was that Best and Bobby Charlton used to described Giggs as their favourite young player, specially turning up at The Cliff training ground to watch him, where Best once quipped, "One day they might even say that I was another Ryan Giggs."[11]

Giggs' popularity heralded a new era in football fandom and was also once described as the "boy who converted a million innocent teenage hearts into United fans".[12] Giggs' emergence came at a time where football was becoming more popular and less working class and he was trapped in the fame superhighway where photogenic young players became pop star-like figures, and it was not uncommon to have roads blocked and traffic jams when Giggs was at booksignings.[13]

Such was Giggs' talent that words like "genius" and "magician" were often flaunted in descriptions of him by team mates like Paul Ince, and Gary Pallister said that United defenders used to say they had "got twisted blood trying to mark him in training".[9] Steve Bruce also said that "When Ryan ran, he ran like the wind. You couldn't hear him he was that light on his feet. He had that natural body swerve, that way with a ball only the great players have got. No disrespect to [David] Beckham and Scholesy, but he's the only one who was always going to be a superstar."[9]

His goals were regularly shortlisted for various Goal of the Season awards, and tended to be memorable, particularly the ones against Queens Park Rangers in 1993, Tottenham in 1994, Everton in 1995, Coventry in 1996, and the most remarkable of all, his solo-goal against Arsenal in the replay of the 1999 FA Cup semi-final. During extra time, Giggs picked up possession just after Patrick Vieira had given the ball away, then ran away from the half-way line, dribbling past the whole Arsenal back line, including Tony Adams, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown before launching his left-footed strike just under David Seaman's bar and beyond him. It also has the distinction of being the last ever goal scored in an FA Cup Semi-Final Replay as, from the following season, the FA Cup Semi-Finals have been decided in a single game, with extra time and a penalty shootout if required.

By the late 1990s, with the retirement of Eric Cantona and the emergence of younger players like David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Philip Neville and Nicky Butt, Giggs' media profile diminished and he missed several games due to injury, but his form was consistently excellent and he played in both cup finals that the club reached that season.[citation needed] Memorable moments were his extra-time goal in the FA Cup semi-final against arch-rivals Arsenal to give United a 2-1 win, and his 90th minute equaliser in the home leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Juventus.

Giggs set up the equalising goal scored by Teddy Sheringham in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final that set United on their way to the Treble. Giggs was also the Man of the Match as United beat Palmeiras to claim the Intercontinental Cup that year.

Later years

Giggs was one of United's most experienced and senior players when Denis Irwin left in May 2002, and he became a pivotal part of the club, despite still being only 28 years old. Giggs continued to excel in the four years that followed the Treble triumph of 1999. United were Premier League champions in three of the four seasons following the treble, as well as reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals three times and the semi-finals once. He celebrated his 10-year anniversary at Old Trafford with a testimonial match against Celtic at the start of the 2001–02 campaign. A year later, he bagged his 100th career goal in a draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

He played in his fourth FA Cup triumph on 22 May 2004, making him one of only two players (the other being Roy Keane) to have won the trophy four times while playing for Manchester United. He has also finished with a runners-up medal three times (1995, 2005 and 2007). His participation in the victory over Liverpool in September 2004 made him the third player to play 600 games for United, alongside Sir Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes. He was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of his contribution to the English game.

After that season, Giggs signed a two-year contract extension with United when chairman David Gill relented on his normal policy of not signing players over 30 to contracts longer than one year. He has subsequently signed two further one-year contact extensions, to keep him at Old Trafford until at least June 2010, when he will be 36. Giggs has also benefited from being largely injury-free aside from a series of hamstring problems.

On 6 May 2007, with Chelsea only able to manage a 1–1 draw with London rivals Arsenal, Manchester United became the champions of England. In doing so, Ryan Giggs set a new record of nine league titles, beating the previous record of eight he shared with Alan Hansen and Phil Neal (who won all of their titles with Liverpool). Giggs played a starring role in United's 2007 Charity Shield victory after netting in the first half to bring the game to a 1–1 draw, which led to penalty triumph for the Red Devils after keeper Edwin van der Sar saved all of Chelsea's first three penalties.

In the 2007–08 season, Alex Ferguson adopted a rotation system between Giggs and newcomers Nani and Anderson. Nevertheless, Giggs remained the favoured choice for the anticipated clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford and put in a cross with the outside of his boot for Carlos Tevez to score his first United goal.

Giggs scored his 100th league goal for United against Derby County on 8 December 2007, which United won 4–1.[14] More landmarks have been achieved: on 20 February 2008 he made his 100th appearance in the UEFA Champions League in a game against Lyon[15] and on 11 May 2008 he came on as a substitute for Park Ji-Sung to equal Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances for United.[16] Fittingly, Giggs scored the second goal in that match, sealing his, and United's, tenth Premier League title. Ten days later, on 21 May 2008, Giggs broke Bobby Charlton's appearance record for United when coming on as an 87th minute substitute for Paul Scholes in the Champions League Final against Chelsea. United would go on to win the Final, defeating Chelsea 6–5 on penalties after a 1–1 draw after extra time. Giggs converted what became the winning penalty in sudden-death for United (after Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka missed the final penalty) and joined Steve McManaman and team-mate Owen Hargreaves in becoming the only British players to have played in and won more than one Champions League final.

At the start of Manchester United's 2008–09 campaign, Sir Alex Ferguson began placing Ryan Giggs at central midfield, behind the forwards, instead of his favoured wing position. Giggs has since adapted very well to his new position and supplied two assists in as many games, against Middlesbrough and Aalborg. Sir Alex Ferguson said in an interview, "Ryan (Giggs) is a very valuable player, he will be 35 this November but at 35, he can be United's key player. At 25, Ryan would shatter defenders with his run down the flank, but at 35, he will play deeper."[17] Giggs has begun taking his coaching badges and Ferguson has hinted that he would like Giggs to serve as his coaching staff after retirement like Ole Gunnar Solskjๆr did.[18]

On 8 February 2009, Giggs maintained his record of being the only player to score in every season of the Premier League since its inception in 1992 by netting the only goal in a 1–0 win over West Ham United.[19] Following speculation earlier in the year,[20] in February 2009, Giggs signed a one-year extension to his current contract – which was due to expire in June 2009.[21]

International career

As a youngster, Giggs captained England Schoolboys but played for the Welsh national team as an adult. In 1991, he held the world record for being the youngest player at the time to play for Wales. He went on to win 64 caps, and scored twelve goals for the Welsh national team between 1991 and 2007. He was appointed captain of Wales in 2004.

Giggs received criticism for his reluctance to participate in friendly international matches. Since his d้but in 1991 against Germany, Giggs failed to attend a friendly international until some nine years later, missing 18 consecutive friendly games. The official reason given for such absences was that Giggs was injured on each occasion. However, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in fact had a policy of refusing to release the player for friendly games.[22]

In September 2006, Giggs played in a friendly against Brazil at White Hart Lane. Such was his display that, following the 2-0 win for Brazil, Brazil coach Dunga paid Giggs the compliment by stating he would not look out of place playing for the five-time world champions alongside stars such as Kakแ and Ronaldinho.[23]

To surprise of some, Giggs announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday 30 May 2007 at a press conference held at The Vale of Glamorgan Hotel, drawing the curtain on a 16-year international career.[18] He cited concentrating on his United career as the main reason for stepping down. His final game for Wales, and as captain, was the Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic on 2 June at Cardiff. He earned his 64th cap in this game and won the Man of the Match award as Wales drew 0-0.[24]

Discipline

Giggs had a very good disciplinary record during his early career receiving relatively few bookings. In fact, he has never been sent off when playing for Manchester United and only once when playing for Wales. His only red card came in 2001 in an international match against Norway, which Wales lost. In November 2003, he was found guilty of improper conduct by the FA due to his behaviour following a game against Arsenal. In the same week, Giggs received a two-match suspension from international football for deliberately elbowing Russian player Vadim Evseev in the face. The offence was missed by the referee but he was later charged using video evidence.

Honours

Manchester United

  • Premier League (10): 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08
  • FA Cup (4): 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04
  • Football League Cup (3): 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09
  • FA Community Shield (7): 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008
  • UEFA Champions League (2): 1998–99, 2007–08
  • UEFA Super Cup (1): 1991
  • Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999
  • FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008

Individual

  • PFA Young Player of the Year: 1992, 1993
  • Bravo Award: 1993
  • BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year: 1996
  • Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year Award: 1997–98
  • Intercontinental Cup Man of the Match: 1999[27]
  • Premier League Team of the Decade: 2003[28]
  • English Football Hall of Fame: 2005
  • Wales Player of the Year Award: 1996, 2006
  • FA Premier League Player of the Month: September 1993, August 2006, February 2007
  • PFA Team Of The Century: 2007[4]
  • PFA Team of the Year: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2007
  • Only Manchester United player to have played in all ten Premier League-winning teams and only player to win 10 league titles
  • Only Manchester United player to have played in all three League Cup-winning teams
  • Only player to have scored in eleven consecutive Champions League tournaments
  • Only player to have scored in thirteen different Champions League tournaments
  • Only player to have scored in every Premier League campaign since its inception

Orders and special awards

  • OBE for services to football.[2]
  • Awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from Salford University on 15 July 2008 for contributions to football and charity work in developing countries.[29]

Personal life

Giggs has featured in adverts for Reebok, Sovil Titus, Citizen Watches, Givenchy, Fuji, Patek Phillipe, Quorn Burgers, ITV Digital and Celcom.

According to an article by BBC Sport: "In the early 1990s, Giggs was David Beckham before Beckham was even holding down a place in the United first team. If you put his face on the cover of a football magazine, it guaranteed you the biggest sales of the year. Why? Men would buy it to read about 'the new Best' and girls bought it because they wanted his face all over their bedroom walls. Giggs had the million-pound boot deal (Reebok), the lucrative sponsorship deals in the Far East (Fuji) and the celebrity girlfriends (Dani Behr, Davinia Taylor) at a time when Beckham was being sent on loan to Preston North End."[30]

Giggs married his long-term partner Stacey Cooke in a private ceremony on 7 September 2007 .[31] They currently have two children, Liberty and Zach, and live in Worsley, Manchester.[32]

Campaigner

In recent years, Giggs has also become a UNICEF representative, launching a campaign in 2002 to prevent landmines from killing children. Giggs, who had visited UNICEF projects in Thailand, told the BBC: "As a footballer I can't imagine life without the use of one of my legs...Sadly this is exactly what happens to thousands of children every year when they accidentally step on a landmine."[33]

Popular culture

In November 2003, Giggs was mentioned in an episode of The Simpsons, entitled "The Regina Monologues", which takes place in England. In response to Marge complaining that Homer punched out three people on the street, Homer replies, "That was over soccer results. Can you believe they gave Giggs a yellow card in the box?"

References and Notes

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Best Footballer in the world

Top Five Players

1. Ronaldo 2. Messi
3. Ronaldinho  4. Pele
5. Gerrard


Vote for the best football player on the planet

stevie gerrard is the best because he can do everything whereas other good players specialise in a few things. Also he works hard and is loyal to club and country.

C.ronaldo is d best footballer

mi jugador es iniesta de espana

I think c ronaldo is the best

ronaldinho he's the master

Christino Ronaldo is the best player of the world. In 47 matches he scored 48 goals in only one year compared to messi who only scored 106 in 159 matches in 6 years. The ballon d'or earned.

my vote is with xavi of barcelona technically he is brilliant. his control vision and touch is first class i hope he wins fifa world player of the year in a week or sos time
Lionel messi is the best playeq in the world by yinkusengine

torres,messi,kaka,cristiono ronaldo,villa and xavi