Ryan Giggs made his debut for Manchester United 20 years tomorrow and is expected to play some part in the trip to Chelsea this evening.
The statistics are simply staggering. 862 Manchester United appearances (a new record) has seen Giggs score 158 goals and claim 11 Premier League titles, four FA Cup winners’ medals and two Champions League triumphs. If you include runners-up medals, the Welsh wizard has won 48 (!) and it would be no surprise if he adds to that this season or even next. Â He has also never been sent off.
Below are our top 10 Ryan Giggs moments from the past 20 years.
1. Ryan Wilson impresses at Anfield. Playing for Salford Schoolboys a mop haired left winger was sensational in a Granada Schools CupÂ victory against Blackburn at Anfield. A year later Ryan Wilson became Ryan Giggs when he took his mother’s maiden name after his parents separated.
2.Â Reebok’s greatest ever Manchester United side. It is incredible to think that Giggs was placed in Manchester United’s greatest ever side 16 years ago. Undoubtedly, this was partly due to Reebok, his long-term sponsor’s, making the ad but no one disputed it then and now in January he was voted Manchester United’s greatest ever player by a world wide poll conducted by the club’s official magazine.
3.Â The 15 second goal. Manchester United may have been humbled by Rotor Volgograd in the UEFA Cup in 95/96 but they went on to win the double in England and regularly demolished the smaller clubs in the Premier League. One such instance was a 4-1 victory over Southampton and the victory was never in doubt once Giggs curled home the winner after just 15 seconds.
4. A header v Barcelona. On their way to winning the Champions League, United played out two cracking 3-3 draws with Barcelona in the group stages. Giggs put United ahead at Old Trafford in the first game with a beautiful header from a Beckham cross – a classic Manchester United goal for the ages.
5.Â That FA Cup goal v Arsenal. Giggs produced the best goal of his career in extra-time of the last ever FA Cup semi-final replay in one of the most dramatic games as Manchester United marched to a famous treble. Other wonder goals from Giggs’ career include famous slalom runs v Spurs, QPR, Chelsea and Juventus – all are on this video.
6.Â Beckham & Giggs take a free-kick together. Despite being deadly from set-pieces, Giggs rarely took free-kicks at Manchester United due to the presence of David Beckham and then Cristiano Ronaldo. This clip, perhaps showing Giggs’ frustration, comes from August 2001, a 1-1 draw at Villa Park with Peter Schmeichel in goal for the home side.
7.Â That FA Cup miss v Arsenal. Not all of Ryan Giggs’ FA Cup ties against Arsenal were as successful as the 1999 semi-final replay. The Gunners won 2-0 at Old Trafford in February 2003 and Giggs produced a shocking miss with his right foot after rounding Keown, Seaman and then Campbell. Also proved that Giggs is in fact human.
8.Â Wins the title at Wigan. A tally of 11 Premier League titles will almost certainly not be beaten and Giggs has played a major part in every single one of them. In May 2008, he clinched the title after coming on as a substitute and finishing calmly to seal a 2-0 win at Wigan.
9.Â Scores in the penalty shoot-out v Chelsea. Giggs held his nerve with Manchester United’s final penalty against Chelsea in the dramatic 2008 Champions League final shoot-out. A sublime finish into the bottom right hand corner belied the pressure of the situation just minutes after John Terry had slipped and seconds before Edwin van der Sar would save from Nicolas Anelka in Moscow.
10.Â The assist king. Gone are the days when Giggs would sprint down the left wing and play an inch-perfect cross on to the head of Mark Hughes, Eric Cantona or Andy Cole. These days Giggs is a midfield prompter and nowhere was this better shown than Michael Owen’s late winner against Manchester City in 2009/2010. He brought the ball down when all others were hoofing it and played in Owen with an inch perfect through ball.