Happy 36th Birthday Ryan Giggs: True Red Devil!

"I DID NOT OWN THIS ARTICLE. THIS ARTICLE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED AT Presstv, and written BY SAM K PARKS-KIA. All credit should go to the writer and the websites who hosts this article. Thank You"
Ryan Giggs: The one-club legend

by Sam K Parks-Kia

"Giggs... gets past Vieira, past Dixon... it's a wonderful run from Giggs! A sensational goal from Ryan Giggs!... Stunned Arsenal fans... He just barbed in, weaved in, kept going... and when he needed a finish... by god he gave his one... what a strike! After beating three, four, five players! Wonderful... wonderful finish to win any football match," commentators Andy Gray and Martin Tyler said during the replay of the FA Cup semifinal between Manchester United and Arsenal at Villa Park, on April 14, 1999.

That spontaneous outburst of excellence complemented with a magical final touch — which was the last-ever goal to be scored in an FA Cup semifinal Replay — re-established Ryan Giggs, who has been redefining class and pushing barriers and limits since the early '90s.

Born Ryan Joseph Wilson to Danny Wilson and Lynne Giggs, the most decorated player of Manchester United turns 36 on November 29 — giving me an excuse to not only celebrate his birthday, but also a remarkable career.

Giggs, who was on the brink of joining United rival Manchester City, had an uninvited guest showing up at his doorstep on his 14th birthday; and that guest was no other than Sir Alex Ferguson, who had personally went there to offer Ryan a deal he could not possibly resist.

Two years after his parents' separation, Ryan changed his last name to Giggs. However, the change came by chance, when just before a foreign tour, it was found that the young star did not have a passport.

In the process of applying for a passport, Ryan decided to go by his mother's last name.

In March 1991, Giggs, sporting the famous number 11 shirt, made his debut as a substitute for Denis Irwin in a 2-0 home defeat to Everton. However, his first league that start in the 1991-92 season proved to be a remarkable one, as he scored his first-ever United goal against City in the Manchester derby.

Little did he know then that he was on track to score in each and every league season that there was to come, marking 19 seasons of scoring non-stop. He is currently the only player, who has scored in every Premiere League season since its inception. For Ryan, the sky was the limit.

Being a humble athlete, Giggs never agreed to talk to the press until he was 20, and refused to live the life of a celebrity.

The Washman embarked on a journey of success, becoming the first player to win the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Young Player of the Year award twice, and the first to win the award in two consecutive seasons — the 1991-92 and 1992-3 seasons.

In the following season, two astonishing strikes against Tottenham Hotspurs and Queens Park Rangers from Ryan Giggs helped United to achieve their first League and FA Cup double.

The "boy wonder," as some used to call him when he first debuted, now holds the record of the best goal-scorer for a non-striker in the English Premier League.

In 1995-96 he achieved another double, the "Double Double," with United, before experiencing the 1999 treble — which marked the first instance of a club winning three trophies, with one being the UEFA Champions League, in a single season.

Needless to say it was Ryan's goal against Arsenal and his assistance to Teddy Sheringham — who scored the equalizer in the Champions League final at Camp Nou in United's last-minute 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich — that made it all possible.

Although he was an indispensible asset to Sir Alex, Giggs' Wales career never really took off. Despite missing most of the international friendlies due to his club's policies, he became a national icon and the captain of his country; however, he never enjoyed the same success with Wales as he did with the Red Devils.

In 2001 Giggs picked up a hamstring injury and for the first season since 1997-98, United went trophyless in 2001-02, with Arsenal taking the domestic double, and Bayer Leverkusen eliminating United in the Champions League semifinal.

Just as Ryan celebrated "10 years at Old Trafford" with a testimonial match against Celtic in 2001-02, critics and even some fans started to question Giggs' form for the first time, disputing his ability to return to his highest level — which as some might put was too high for most players to begin with.

His descent from grace peaked in February 2003, when he missed an open goal against Arsenal in the 5th round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford, where United was defeated 0-2.

Following the incident Giggs proved all his critics wrong, scoring a vital equalizer at Highbury — Arsenal's then home — in the same season to lead his side to the Premier League trophy.

Ten days later, his performance against Juventus at the Stadio Del Alpi was reminiscent of his form in 1999.

"The United number 11 shrugged off mounting criticism from the fans to score a breathtaking goal reminiscent of his classic goal against Arsenal in 1999. Picking up the ball on the halfway line, he weaved through the Juve back four then fired coolly past Buffon with his right foot before pointing to his name on his shirt," The Mirror Football wrote of his performance in United's 3-0 victory against Juventus.

In the 2003-04 season, Giggs was back at his best, with Sir Alex giving him license to play the way he knows best: terrorizing defenders and scoring crucial goals.

In the interests of maintaining his club career at the highest level, Ryan retired from international football with Wales in June 2007, after 64 games and 12 goals. In October 2007, he extended his contract with United to June 2009 and consequently until the end of the 2009-10 season.

The year 2007 was one of special significance to Giggs, since he was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his services to football and scored his 100th league career goal in the 4-0 home win over Derby County in December the same year. It was also the year in which he married his long-time beloved Stacey Cooke.

Five months later, Giggs broke Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances for United in the UEFA Champions League's final, where he converted a decisive penalty in the shootouts to lift the European trophy for the second time.

During the 2008-09 season Ferguson assigned Giggs to a more central position in the midfield where he is right behind the strikers, where Roy Kean offered most of his contribution during his United career.

To date, Ryan has made 818 appearances for the Reds, scoring 150 goals — 100 of which were in the Premier League. He holds one of the best disciplinary records ever held. Throughout his career as a United player he has never been sent off and has only received 27 yellow cards — that translates into less than 1.5 yellow cards per season.

The Welshman scored his 100th Premier League goal in Manchester United's 4-1 victory over Portsmouth on November 28, a day before celebrating his 36th birthday.

In April 2009, Ryan Giggs won the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year award for the first time in his career. However, what was more surprising than Ryan winning the trophy at the age of 35 was that he had not been named the PFA Player of the Year sooner.

Throughout his career Ryan has received offers from high-profile clubs such as the Italian giant Inter, but has always expressed his passion for Manchester United, saying that he would want his professional career to end where it started — at Old Trafford.

"It was never a consideration to leave," said Giggs after winning the award. "I was linked with a few clubs but it was never really close. Why would I think about it when I was always happy here?"

On a more personal level, Giggs was a humanitarian. As a UNICEF ambassador, in 2002 he campaigned to prevent landmines from killing children. In 2006, Ryan visited South Africa to fight HIV/AIDS.

"We talk about footballers being brave when they play on in a game when they're injured… but that's nothing compared to the bravery of this man and what he is going through. His strength of character is an inspiration," Giggs said of an HIV positive patient in Soweto, South Africa, in 2006.

Ryan currently lives with Stacey and their two children Liberty and Zach in Worsley, Salford.

Here are some of the achievements of the magnificent no. 11:

- PFA Player of the Year: 2009FA Premier League Player of the Month: Sep 1993, Aug 2006, Feb 2007

- Manchester United Players Player of the Year Award: 2006

- Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year Award: 1998

- U-21 European Footballer of the Year: 1993

- Wales Player of the Year Award: 1996, 2006

- BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year: 1996

- Inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame: 2005

- Inducted into the Premiership Team of the Decade: 2003

- Inducted into the PFA Team Of The Century: 2007

- Record holder for number of English League title medals

- PFA Team of the Year: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2007

- OBE for services to football

Some of the trophies Ryan has lifted as a United player:

- English Premier League: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009

- UEFA Champions League: 1999, 2008

- Intercontinental Cup: 1999

- FA Cup: 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004

- League Cup: 1992, 2006, 2009

- UEFA Super Cup: 1991

- FIFA Club World Cup: 2008

This entry was posted in , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.