| Belgium’s Yves Vanderhaeghe and teammate Bart Goor (left) play in the snow at Le Coq Stadium in Tallinn on Tuesday, the eve of their Euro 2004 group VIII qualifying match against Estonia. (Reuters)
Rome: Manchester United’s Welsh international Ryan Giggs has been the best left winger in the world for the last five years, according to AS Roma coach Fabio Capello.
Capello made his comments ahead of Italy’s Euro 2004 qualifier against Wales in Cardiff on Wednesday.
“Ryan Giggs is the greatest outside left player there has been in world football during the past five years,” Capello was quoted as saying in sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. “He’s the kind of player who can switch the direction of attack at any moment and that’s a quality that every coach values a lot.
“On one hand he has the opportunity to play in one of the greatest clubs in the world, Manchester United,” he added. “On the other — unfortunately for him — his national side is not so strong and it’s probably this that stops him winning big prizes like the European player of the year — a trophy he amply deserves for all he’s done in the last few seasons.”
After Saturday’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Yugoslavia, Italy are keen get all three points to strengthen their position at the top of group nine.
Giggs has been identified as Wales’ main threat by the Italian media, who have debated various methods of stopping him.
Capello suggested using Roma’s pacey defender Christian Panucci, who after a slow start this season has started to find the form that made him one of the best players in Serie A last year. “Panucci has the characteristics adapted to avoid being surprised by the Welshman,” he said.
“Apart from anything else, Christian’s physical condition is improving, as he demonstrated in the last Serie A match against Udinese and in the national team game against Yugoslavia.”