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        Ryan Giggs - The Welsh Wizard

        Texto por Andy Packett

        Manchester United veteran winger Ryan Giggs, who was recently named as the greatest player of the Premier League era, has spent his entire career at the same club making his debut in 1990. He has played an incredible 941 times in all competitions scoring 168 goals in his illustrious career. 

        Giggs continues to ply his trade at The Theatre Of Dreams and is set to start his 24th season with United having collected 35 titles all under Sir Alex Ferguson's management.

        He has also won a plethora of individual accolades including the PFA Young Player of the year twice, The PFA player of the year award in 2008/09 (16 years after the young player award). He has featured in the PFA Team of the Year on 6 occasions spanning 16 years. He was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2009.

        The Welsh man will always be famous for his Goal of the Season against Arsenal in the FA Cup replay in 1998/99 season where he intercepted the ball on the half way line and ran at and terrorised the Gunners defence before firing into the roof of the net to score the winning goal to set them on their way in the treble winning year. 

        Early years

        Born as Ryan Joseph Wilson (he adopted his mother's maiden name as his professional surname) in Cardiff he moved to Salford when he was six and began his footballing dream.

        Giggs played fpr local side Deans FC, who were coached by Manchester City scout Dennis Schofield. Schofield recommended Giggs to Manchester City who signed him up to their School of Excellence.

        While playing for Deans, Giggs was observed by local newsagent and Old Trafford steward Harold Wood. Wood spoke personally to Alex Ferguson who sent a scout, and Giggs was eventually offered a trial over the 1986 Christmas period. 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. On 29 November 1987 (his 14th birthday), Ferguson turned up at Giggs's house with United scout Joe Brown and offered him two years on associate schoolboy forms.

        Giggs also captained England at schoolboy level playing at Wembley against Germany in 1989. 

        Debut and impressive beginnings

        Giggs was offered his first professional contract on 29 November 1990 (his 17th birthday). He accepted the contract and became a professional two days later (1 December 1990).

        Alex Ferguson had been in charge at United since 1986 and the Red devils had just won their first silverware winning the FA Cup and Giggs was set to start a battle with Lee Sharpe for the left wing spot as United looked to close the gap on the successful Liverpool and Arsenal.

        Giggs made his league debut against Everton on 2 March 1991 and scored his first goal in a 1-0 derby win over Manchester City on 4 May 1991. Although he missed out on the squad that defeated Barcelona in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup final 11 days later he was not to be denied a trophy for much longer.

        Still playing for the youth team as well as making first team appearances he lead Fergie's Fledglings to the FA Youth Cup in 1992 before breaking into the first team at just 17 years of age.

        The first of his 35 titles was won in 1992 with Manchester United defeating Nottingham Forest in the League Cup final with Giggs assisting Brian McClair for the only goal of the game.

        After finishing second to Leeds United in the last season of the Old First Division he was named PFA Young Player of the Year after excelling throughout.

        With the start of the Premier League era Giggs had ousted Lee Sharpe to become first choice left winger and not only did United win the league but his nine goals saw him claim the PFA Young Player of the Year award for the second successive season making him the first player to achieve this feat. (Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney have since achieved the same feat) 

        Giggs went on to enjoy his best goalscoring season in 1993/94 netting 13 Premier League goals as his United side ran out winners of both the Premier League and the FA Cup thumping Chelsea 4-0 in the final. United were pushing for the domestic treble but Aston Villa took the League Cup afetr a 3-1 win over United. 

        “Premiership's First Poster Boy” 
        He was hailed as the first football star to capture the public imagination in a way unseen since the days of George Best; the irony was that Best and Bobby Charlton used to describe Giggs as their favourite young player, turning up at The Cliff training ground just to watch him. Best once quipped, "One day they might even say that I was another Ryan Giggs." 
        The Welshman hosted Ryan Giggs' Soccer Skills as he became as famous off the pitch as on it becoming a teenage pin up in the process. 
        Highs and lows of the United star
        Giggs endured a frustrating 1994/95 as his side missed out on their third league title in three years with Blackburn pipping them to the title just a week before his side lost the FA Cup Final to Everton. 
        In 1995/96 though it was back to business as usual for Giggs and United as the Red Devils claimed their second Double with the help of the new look United side with Beckham, Butt, Scholes and the Neville brothers emerging through the ranks. 
        Arsenal emerged as a genuine title threat to Manchester United but Giggs' claimed five more Premier League titles by 2002/03 with his side. 
        “Goal of the season & the Treble”
        1998/99 proved to be the most incredible season for Manchester United and Ryan Giggs with the winger scoring the goal of the season against Arsenal to ensure his sides place in the FA Cup final. 
        After picking up a loose pass from Patrick Vieira on the half way line he ran at and terrorised the Gunners defence before firing into the roof of the net to score the winning goal to set them on their way in the treble winning year. 
        The goal and celebration make the goal one that will never be forgotten. 
        With the league title in the bag and the FA Cup wrapped up Giggs played a pivotal role in ensuring it was to be a match and year to remember when they won the treble after sinking Bayern Munich in injury time in the Champions League final. 
        With injury time upon his side Beckham curled in the corner which Giggs swept into Teddy Sheringham's path who scored to level the tie before just two minutes later Ole Gunnar Solskjaer grabbed the winner. 
        Longest serving player
        Giggs became United's longest serving active player when Denis Irwin retired in 2002 as well as notching his 100th career goal for the club in a draw with Chelsea.
        Title drought
        Giggs held eight League titles a record he shared with Alan Hansen and Phil Neal (All won with Liverpool) in 2003 but United then went through a three year drought as first Arsenal and then Chelsea won back to back titles under Jose Mourinho. 
        Records tumble
        2006/07 season signalled the start of Giggs outright record hauls as the league title was once again back at Old Trafford giving him his ninth league title. 
        2007/08 was another stand out season for the welsh wizard as he claimed a tenth league title as well as fired his 100th league goal for United. The champagne moment for Giggs however was scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final against Chelsea for his second Champions League winners medal. 
        Records continued to fall Giggs' way as he overtook Bobby Charlton's appearance record when he came on for Paul Scholes in the Champions League final. 
        Four more league titles have seen his personal tally all won under Alex Ferguson hit 13. 
        In 2009 he claimed the PFA Player of the Year Award before going onto break fellow country man Gary Speed's Premier League outfield appearances tally of 535. Giggs record currently stands at 620 games. 
        Giggs made his 900th appearance for United in his sides 2-1 win at Carrow Road against Norwich on 26th February 2012 scoring a 90th minute winning goal. 
        Other records held by Giggs
        Only player to have scored in all 23 Premier League seasons.
        Only player to have scored in 16 different Champions league campaigns 
        Oldest player to score in the Champions League 
        International Career
        Giggs made his international debut in 1991, he broke the record as the youngest debutant for Wales and held it for some seven years. 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. 
        After his international debut in 1991 against Germany, Giggs did not attend a friendly international until some nine years later, after which he missed a further 18 consecutive friendly games. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had a policy of refusing to release the player for friendly games 
        Giggs retired from International football in 2007 to prolong his career with Manchester United. 
        On 28 June 2012, Giggs was confirmed as one of the three over-aged players selected for Great Britain to compete at 2012 Summer Olympics and he was subsequently named the team captain and went on to score against United Arab Emirates. 







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