Saturday, December 15, 2007

11. Ryan Giggs

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Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs

Birthdate: 29 Nov 1973
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales
Position: Midfielder
Appearances: 736
Joined United: 09 Jul 1990
United Debut: 02 Mar 1991 v Everton (H)
International Wales

Ryan Giggs is the club’s most decorated player with 18 major honours, yet he might never have graced Old Trafford had it not been for Sir Alex Ferguson’s intervention.

Cardiff-born Giggs was attending Manchester City's School of Excellence in his early teens, but Sir Alex made a personal visit to his house on his 14th birthday and Ryan jumped at the chance to sign for his boyhood club.

He turned professional at United in November 1990. He made his League debut in the old Division One against Everton at Old Trafford on 2 March 1991 as a substitute for Denis Irwin. The following season his first

League start proved a memorable occasion, scoring his first ever United goal (albeit via a deflection) in a 1-0 win over Manchester City.

Injury to Lee Sharpe enabled Giggs to pin down a regular place at the start of the 1991/92 campaign, thanks to his mesmerising dribbling skills and blistering pace. His first trophy arrived in April 1992 as United beat Nottingham Forest in the League Cup final, and the following season saw Giggs claim the first of his record nine Premiership winners’ medals.

His impressive trophy haul also contains European Cup, European Super Cup and Inter-Continental Cup winners’ medals, while he has played a part in four of Sir Alex Ferguson's five FA Cup triumphs. The prestigious cup competition will forever be synonymous with the Reds winger after his superb solo effort in the semi-final replay against Arsenal at Villa Park in April 1999.

Ryan celebrated 10 years at Old Trafford with a testimonial match against Celtic in 2001/02. A year later he bagged his 100th career goal in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and became only the second ever player to play 700 games for United when he helped the Reds to a dramatic 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in March 2007. The

club's all-time appearance record holder is Sir Bobby Charlton (759) and Giggs is well on the way to surpassing that figure.

The Welsh captain played an integral role in United's 2006/07 title-winning season and was lauded by players and pundits alike. It was a record ninth triumph for Giggs and it edged him ahead of previous record holder Alan Hansen, who scooped eight titles during his Liverpool days.

Having retired from international football in June 2007 with 64 caps and 12 goals, Giggs was promptly honoured again - this time with an OBE as he was included in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to football. The United winger signed a contract extension in October 2007 which will keep him at the club until at least June 2009.


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