News from Old Trafford today is that legendary figure, Ryan Giggs, has signed a new one year contract that will keep the Welshman in Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans for yet another season.
The new deal will see Giggs past his 40th birthday in November and has been signed on the eve of the 22nd anniversary of his Manchester United debut against Everton back on March 2nd 1991 when the young starlet was a mere 17 years old.
Fittingly, should Giggs play any part in Saturday’s Premier League game with Norwich City at the Theatre of Dreams, it would be his 1000th professional appearance for both club and country.
The one-club-man has had an incredible career, breaking records left, right and centre since the early days of the Premier League formation when United were yet to become the dominant force they have been for the last 20 years.
Giggs’ haul of trophies in this unprecedented era of success includes 12 English titles (probably soon to be 13), 2 Champions League victories, 4 FA Cup winners medals, 4 League Cup winners medals, 1 European Super Cup and 1 World Club Championship. Throw in 64 appearances for Wales and 4 games at the 2012 Olympics for the Great Britain team for good measure.
Back in 1991, the fresh-faced youngster was a flying winger, compared from a very early age to another United great, George Best. Giggs combined electric pace with superb balance and an eye for goal that made him one of the most explosive and exciting talents of his or any other generation.
After his initial breakthrough into the first team and those fledgling seasons, Giggs occasionally struggled with form and consistency possibly brought about by continual interruptions caused by hamstring problems. But once these issues were resolved, he returned to become an integral figure in Ferguson’s team that went onto win trophy after trophy through the nineties and into the noughties.
Particular highlights of his glittering career would be his amazing FA Cup semi-final goal against rivals Arsenal in 1999, the year of United’s treble, winning the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award after his superb season in 2009, the award of the OBE from HM the Queen, the record of scoring in every season of the Premier League since its inception in 1992 and creating the most goals in the history of the league. This list is far from exhaustive but just goes to show the magnitude of Giggs’ achievements in the game.
As he has matured with age, Ferguson has employed him in several roles in his team, making him team captain on countless occasions, a sign of his growing ability and influence and proving that he was never just a tricky wingman.
Another measure of the esteem in which Giggs is held in the wider football community was evident at the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid in the recent Champions League tie against Real Madrid when the United midfielder was introduced as a second half substitute to a respectful round of applause from the home support.
Although time and age are not on Giggs’ side, he can still do a job for another year for Ferguson and United and who knows, he might just keep going for another year after that while his legs can still let him glide over the pitch like he has done for so many years.