“Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs running down the wing”
That was the first ever chant sung by United fans that I heard, and I have the privilege to sing it myself to this day. It is an honour for me to talk about you, arguably the most decorated footballer in world football.
I am so glad Sir Alex showed up at your door on your 14th birthday to sign you up for United, before you became a City player. A player like you comes once in a generation, and like Sir Bobby had rightly observed, you don’t run down the left wing, you glide down it.
I have always described you as the ‘Grand Young Man’ of Manchester United Football Club, and you still vindicate my comment. Who would say that you are almost 40 years old, when you still leave defenders almost half your age for dead with your sudden change of pace and body swerve?
Certain goals are scored that are etched in the memory of those who love the game. The goal you scored against Arsenal during the FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa Park in 1999 is one such magical moment (see box). I had not seen it live, but every time I watch a replay, I cannot stop myself from jumping around just as you had done after scoring it.
You have played such a big role in taking United to the heights that they have reached in the last two decades, scoring so many invaluable goals and creating many more. In your early years, you were the poster boy of English football, and yet you never let that get to your head. That is something today’s newer players lack. Who can dream of scoring in every one of the last 23 first-division league seasons?
Sir, you are defined as a true gentleman of the game. The way you conduct yourself on the pitch is something that every budding footballer should learn. You are a player who has incredibly never received a single red card in his entire career playing for United, and that’s 23 years right at the top! Stability is so rare in today’s football, and you have provided just that to United by being a one-club man.
There have been certain allegations against you off the pitch, but I simply do not care about all that as long as you are at your best wearing that No. 11 red jersey. I hope to see you play for United for a few more seasons and I promise to continue fighting with my mates for the No. 11 jersey every time we play.
Appearances for Manchester United: 999 (+1 on the night of March 5, versus Real Madrid). Great. Legend. Outstanding.
For me, apni bhogoban, Sir.
>> Wears jersey No 11 for Manchester United
>> Holds the record of never being sent off in a match playing for United, and just once playing for his country Wales
>> Played his 1,000th match on March 5 (for Manchester United) in a career spanning 23 years. Is still going strong at 40
>>The most decorated footballer in the English game, having won 12 Premier League titles with United and innumerable individual awards
>> Was the Premiership’s First Poster Boy
>>In June 2011, Giggs hit the headlines for having a ball with his brother’s wife. No, he wasn’t inspired by Sorry Bhai! and Mere Brother ki Dulhan was not his story either.
“Whether dribbling or sprinting, Ryan can leave the best defenders with twisted blood” — Sir Alex Ferguson
“This is embarrassing to say but I have cried twice in my life watching a football player; the first one was Roberto Baggio and the second was Ryan Giggs” — Alessandro Del Piero
“One day they might even say that I was another Ryan Giggs” — George Best
“Sometimes a young player finds it tough going and he (Giggs) helps them. He shows them how to do it. He knows it from playing 22 years. He pulls the player aside. He spoke to me a lot when I was young” — Rafael da Silva
“A young Giggsy was like a ballet dancer. I had never seen a young player like that and I had seen the Busby Babes” — Eric Harrison, United Youth Coach
“Ryan makes you believe there is a football God” — Ron Atkinson
His Top 3 goals
1. Vs Arsenal (1999)
He started on the bench for this FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa Park against the mighty Arsenal. He came on as a substitute in the second half of normal time. United were down to 10 men in extra time when this happened. Intercepting the ball in his own half, Giggs just ran and ran and ran, past not one, not two, but three defenders to finally smash the ball into the roof of the net past a hapless David Seaman. And then, he ran and ran and ran in jubilation — jersey pulled up to display a hairy chest! Goal of a genius. Celebration of a boy.
2.Vs Tottenham Hotspurs (1992)
A kid, just 18 years old, had been introduced to the game by Sir Alex. But that day, White Hart Lane caught a glimpse of greatness. Giggs scored with just four touches — one to take the ball past a defender, one to nutmeg another Spurs defender, one to calmly round the goalkeeper, and the last to place the ball into the back of the net. All rise, for Ryan Giggs!
3.Vs Coventry City (1997)
This piece of brilliance showed the all-round abilities of Ryan Giggs. He not only won the ball, but went on to score the goal, all by himself. When left back Denis Irwin lost the ball near the Coventry City penalty box and the ball was almost in the possession of a Coventry defender, Giggs swooped out of nowhere, robbed the ball cleanly, and then with his weaker right foot curled the ball perfectly past the goalie, all in one fluid motion.
Is Gareth Bale the next Ryan Giggs? tell firstname.lastname@example.org
Gareth Frank Bale, 23, is the next big thing in Wales and also in the EPL. The Welsh winger is currently spurring on Tottenham Hotspurs and driving the Welsh, terrorising right backs for club and country.
He started off as a left back, but soon graduated to the left wing position he currently occupies.
Bale is fast, and we mean real fast. As a 14-year old, he used to run 100m in 11.4 seconds. Who can forget how he outran one of the world’s top defenders, Maicon, playing against Inter Milan in the Champions League in the 2010-11 season? Defenders have been quoted as saying, “He just doesn’t stop running.” Sounds good, Giggsy?
He has a lot in common with his idol Ryan Giggs. Both have made the left wing position their own. Both wear the same jersey number: 11. Both have speed and skill, guile and gumption. Bale may yet become another great of the game never to make it to the World Cup, just like Giggs and George Best, having been born in Wales. At 6’1”, with a droolworthy physique, he is already a big hit with the babes.
Gareth’s blistering pace, great crossing and dead ball skills and a ruthless eye for goal have made him the toast of the EPL and the envy of several top clubs around the world. The price tag on his head is rising with every single Spurs victory, taking them to third place on the league table above the more-fancied Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. There is even talk of GB11 being the successor of CR7 in the world of football. Yes, you read that right — Gareth Bale is being touted as the next Cristiano Ronaldo! As for United fans, wouldn’t we just love it if Giggs the Master passes on his no. 11 red shirt to Bale the Blaster someday...
What does Ryan Giggs mean to you? Tell email@example.com