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Hodgson stands by Torres



Roy Hodgson says Fernando Torres' crisis of confidence has not returned after the striker's killer instinct appeared to desert him at Spurs.
Torres twice hesitated when clean through either side of half-time while the visitors were leading at White Hart Lane in the 2-1 Premier League defeat on Sunday.
That allowed Sebastien Bassong to snuff out the danger and keep Spurs in a game that was in danger of slipping away from them.
Hodgson admitted last month that Torres was mentally "a bit low" following an injury-hit spell and a poor World Cup.
He looked back to his best in Liverpool's victory over Chelsea but has now drawn a blank in his last three matches.
"I think 'crisis of confidence' may be too strong," said Hodgson after Torres' display yesterday.
"I was pleased with Fernando Torres.
"Fernando himself, because he sets very high standards, will be disappointed he didn't take on of the goal chances which his good play - to be fair - created."
Hodgson also refused to be too harsh on the Spaniard's strike partner David Ngog after the latter inexplicably handled Gareth Bale's free-kick to gift Tottenham a penalty.
Ngog enjoyed a reprieve when Jermain Defoe missed from the spot and Hodgson said: "Players do these things.
"I don't think he jumped with his hands to actually stop the ball with his hands."
Ngog hobbled off in the second half but Hodgson's main concern was a serious injury to stand-in captain Jamie Carragher, who went off late on with a suspected dislocated shoulder.
Injuries also took the gloss off what was Spurs' fifth league victory from a losing position this season.
Rafael van der Vaart lasted less than 12 minutes of his return from an ankle knock before being forced off with a suspected torn hamstring, while Younes Kaboul followed before half-time with what the defender felt was a torn hip muscle.
The imminent return of Michael Dawson should soften the blow if Kaboul is ruled out for any length of time, however.
The game looked destined to end 1-1 after Martin Skrtel scored at both ends and the match entered stoppage time.
But Aaron Lennon netted a dramatic winner in the 92nd minute to move Tottenham back to within six points of the summit.
It completed a stellar eight days for Harry Redknapp's side, who came from 2-0 down to win last Saturday's north London derby before sealing their place in the Champions League knockout phase by beating Werder Bremen on Wednesday night.
Redknapp said: "To pick up three wins is difficult to do and we've done that this week.
"They've had a week's rest, Liverpool.
"We've had a tough week and the lads have still finished stronger."

Ryan Giggs : Personal life

Personal life

Giggs has featured in adverts for Reebok, Sovil Titus, Citizen Watches, Givenchy, Fuji, Patek Phillipe, Quorn Burgers, ITV Digital and Celcom.
According to an article by BBC Sport: "In the early 1990s, Giggs was David Beckham before Beckham was even holding down a place in the United first team. If you put his face on the cover of a football magazine, it guaranteed you the biggest sales of the year. Why? Men would buy it to read about 'the new Best' and girls bought it because they wanted his face all over their bedroom walls. Giggs had the million-pound boot deal (Reebok), the lucrative sponsorship deals in the Far East (Fuji) and the celebrity girlfriends (Dani Behr, Davinia Taylor) at a time when Beckham was being sent on loan to Preston North End."
Giggs was absolved of allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Davinia Taylor, in a nightclub in 1997, but since then has stayed away from negative publicity.
Giggs married his long-term partner, Stacey Cooke, in a private ceremony on 7 September 2007. They have two children, both born in Salford: Liberty Beau (known as Libby, born 2003) and Zach Joseph (born 2006), and live in Worsley, Salford.
On 7 January 2010, Giggs became only the 22nd person to receive the Freedom of the City of Salford.
Ryan's younger brother Rhodri manages non-league Salford City FC.

 Campaigner

In recent years, Giggs has become a UNICEF representative, launching a campaign in 2002 to prevent landmines from killing children. Giggs visited UNICEF projects in Thailand and told the BBC: "As a footballer I can't imagine life without the use of one of my legs... Sadly this is exactly what happens to thousands of children every year when they accidentally step on a landmine."

 Post-playing career

In October 2010, Giggs said he would "probably finish [his] career here [Old Trafford]", and that he could not see himself "dropping down leagues and playing at a lesser level." He said he wanted to go into coaching, calling managing Manchester United or Wales, "the two ultimate jobs", and that he was halfway through his UEFA 'A' coaching license.

Ryan Giggs : Records


Records

  • Only player to have won 11 league titles, and only Manchester United player to have played in all eleven Premier League-winning teams.
  • Most Premier League appearances for an outfield player.
  • Most Premier League assists (accurate records are only available from 2002 onwards).
  • Only player to have scored in all 19 Premier League campaigns since its inception.
  • One of two players to have played in every Premier League season since its inception, Sol Campbell being the other. .
  • Only player to have scored in eleven consecutive Champions League tournaments (1996–97 to 2006–07).
  • Only Manchester United player to have scored in fourteen different Champions League tournaments.
  • Most goals by a British player in the Champions League/European Cup proper history, and 14th overall (not including preliminary rounds).
  • Most appearances by a Manchester United player.
  • First player to score 100 Premier League goals for Manchester United.
  • Second midfielder to have scored 100 goals in the Premier League for a single club (first being Matt Le Tissier).

Ryan Giggs : Honours

Honours

 Manchester United

  • Premier League (11): 1992–93, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07, 2007–08, 2008–09
  • FA Cup (4): 1993–94, 1995–96, 1998–99, 2003–04
  • Football League Cup (4): 1991–92, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10
  • FA Community Shield (8): 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010
  • UEFA Champions League (2): 1998–99, 2007–08
  • UEFA Super Cup (1): 1991
  • Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999
  • FIFA Club World Cup (1): 2008

 Individual

  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year: 2009
  • PFA Player of the Year: 2009
  • PFA Young Player of the Year: 1992, 1993
  • Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year: 1997–98
  • Bravo Award: 1993
  • BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year: 1996, 2009
  • Overall Team of the Decade – Premier League 10 Seasons Awards (1992–93 to 2001–02)
  • Wales Player of the Year Award: 2006
  • FA Premier League Player of the Month: September 1993, August 2006, February 2007
  • PFA Team Of The Century: 2007
  • PFA Team of the Year: 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2009
  • Goal of the Season: 1999
  • English Football Hall of Fame: Inducted in 2005

 Orders and special awards

  • OBE for services to football: 2007
  • Honorary Master of Arts degree from Salford University for contributions to football and charity work in developing countries: 2008
  • Freedom of the City of Salford: 2010

Ryan Giggs : Career statistics

Career statistics

Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 1990–91 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
1991–92 38 4 3 0 8 3 1 0 1 0 51 7
1992–93 41 9 2 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 46 11
1993–94 38 13 7 1 8 3 4 0 1 0 58 17
1994–95 29 1 7 1 0 0 3 2 1 0 40 4
1995–96 33 11 7 1 2 0 2 0 0 0 44 12
1996–97 26 3 3 0 0 0 7 2 1 0 37 5
1997–98 29 8 2 0 0 0 5 1 1 0 37 9
1998–99 24 3 6 2 1 0 9 5 1 0 41 10
1999–2000 30 6 0 0 11 1 3 0 44 7
2000–01 31 5 2 0 0 0 11 2 1 0 45 7
2001–02 25 7 1 0 0 0 13 2 1 0 40 9
2002–03 36 8 3 2 5 0 15 5 0 0 59 14
2003–04 33 7 5 0 0 0 8 1 1 0 47 8
2004–05 32 5 4 0 1 1 6 2 1 0 44 8
2005–06 27 3 2 1 3 0 5 1 0 0 37 5
2006–07 30 4 6 0 0 0 8 2 0 0 44 6
2007–08 31 3 2 0 0 0 9 0 1 1 43 4
2008–09 28 2 2 0 4 1 11 1 2 0 47 4
2009–10 26 5 1 0 2 1 3 1 1 0 32 7
2010–11 7 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 10 1
Total 595 109 65 10 36 9 134 28 18 1 848 156
Statistics accurate as of match played 24 November 2010


Wales national team
Year Apps Goals
1991 2 0
1992 3 0
1993 6 2
1994 1 1
1995 3 0
1996 3 1
1997 3 1
1998 1 0
1999 3 1
2000 4 1
2001 4 0
2002 5 0
2003 7 1
2004 3 0
2005 6 3
2006 5 0
2007 4 1
Total 64 12

Ryan Giggs : Discipline

Giggs had received relatively few bookings early in his career. He has never been sent off when playing for Manchester United and only once when playing for Wales, on 5 September 2001 in a World Cup qualifier against Norway; Giggs received a second yellow card in the 86th minute. In November 2003, he was found guilty of improper conduct by the FA due to his behaviour following the Battle of Old Trafford against Arsenal. In the same week, Giggs received a two-match suspension from international football for deliberately elbowing Russian player Vadim Evseev in the face during the first leg of the Euro 2004 play-offs. The offence was missed by referee Lucílio Batista, but Giggs was later charged using video evidence.

Ryan Giggs : International goals

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 31 March 1993 Cardiff, Wales  Belgium 2–0 Win World Cup 1994 qualifying
2 8 September 1993 Cardiff, Wales  Czech Republic 2–2 Draw World Cup 1994 qualifying
3 7 September 1994 Cardiff, Wales  Albania 2–0 Win UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying
4 2 June 1996 Serravalle, San Marino  San Marino 5–0 Win World Cup 1998 qualifying
5 11 November 1997 Brussels, Belgium  Belgium 2–3 Loss World Cup 1998 qualifying
6 4 September 1999 Minsk, Belarus  Belarus 2–1 Win UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying
7 29 March 2000 Cardiff, Wales  Finland 1–2 Loss Friendly
8 29 March 2003 Cardiff, Wales  Azerbaijan 4–0 Win UEFA Euro 2004 qualifying
9 8 October 2005 Belfast, Northern Ireland  Northern Ireland 3–2 Win World Cup 2006 qualifying
10 12 October 2005 Cardiff, Wales  Azerbaijan 2–0 Win World Cup 2006 qualifying
11 12 October 2005 Cardiff, Wales  Azerbaijan 2–0 Win World Cup 2006 qualifying
# 21 May 2006 Bilbao, Spain  Basque Country 1–0 Win Non-FIFA representative friendly
12 28 March 2007 Cardiff, Wales  San Marino 3–0 Win UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying

Ryan Giggs : International career


International career

Giggs captaining Wales in the friendly against Brazil in September 2006
 
Born in Cardiff with Welsh parents, Giggs represented Wales at international level. As a youngster, Giggs captained England Schoolboys. Contrary to popular belief, he was never eligible for the full England team (eligibility at the schoolboy level depends solely upon the location of the school, in Giggs' case Moorside High School in Salford). He has stated that he would have chosen to play for Wales anyway. When he made his international debut in 1991, he broke the record as the youngest debutant for Wales and held it for some seven years when it was broken by Ryan Green in June 1998. 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.
Giggs received criticism for his reluctance to participate in friendly international matches. Since his début in 1991 against Germany, Giggs failed to attend a friendly international until some nine years later, when he then missed 18 consecutive friendly games. The official reason given for such absences was that Giggs was injured on each occasion. However, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in fact had a policy of refusing to release the player for friendly games.
During a 2006 World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan on 12 October 2005, Giggs scored a rare double in a 2–0 win but Wales failed to reach the play-offs. In September 2006, he played in a friendly against Brazil at White Hart Lane. Such was his display that, following the 2–0 win for Brazil, Brazil coach Dunga paid Giggs the compliment by stating he would not look out of place playing for the five-time world champions alongside stars such as Kaká and Ronaldinho.
To surprise of some, Giggs announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday 30 May 2007 at a press conference held at The Vale of Glamorgan Hotel, drawing the curtain on a 16-year international career. He cited concentrating on his United career as the main reason for stepping down. His final game for Wales, and as captain, was the Euro 2008 qualifier against the Czech Republic on 2 June at Cardiff. He earned his 64th cap in this game and won the Man of the Match award as Wales drew 0–0. In November, he was one of three players in the final nomination by the FAW for the Wales Player of the Year award, which was ultimately won by Craig Bellamy.
In an interview with the Western Mail on 26 March 2010, Giggs hinted that he might be tempted to come out of international retirement for his country's UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, in order to cover for the injured Aaron Ramsey. However, he later clarified his position to BBC Radio Manchester, saying that he would only return to Wales duty in an emergency.

Ryan Giggs : Manchester United first team




Manchester United first team

Giggs made his first appearance for the club during the 1990–91 season and has been a regular player since the 1991–92 season. He holds the club record for competitive appearances, and the club record for team trophies won by a player (23).Since 1992, he has collected 11 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals. He also has runner-up medals from the Champions League, three FA Cup finals and two League Cup finals, as well as being part of four United teams to have finished second in the league. In recent years, Giggs has captained the team on numerous occasions, particularly in the 2007–08 season when regular captain Gary Neville was ruled out with various injuries. Giggs is the only player to play every season of the Premier league for one club and score in every season of the Premier League for any club.

Debut and breakthrough season

Giggs turned professional on 29 November 1990 (his 17th birthday), by which time he was described by various sources to be the finest prospect in English football since George Best in the 1960s.
At this time, United had recently won the FA Cup – their first major trophy since the appointment of Alex Ferguson as manager in November 1986. After two precarious seasons in the league where they had finished mid table, they were finally starting to threaten the dominance of Liverpool and Arsenal, though they only managed to finish sixth that season. Ferguson's quest for a successful left winger had not been an easy one since the departure of Jesper Olsen two years earlier. First he had signed Ralph Milne, but the player was not a success at United and lasted just one season in the first team before Ferguson secured the Southampton winger Danny Wallace in September 1989. However, Wallace had failed to repeat the performances that had made him one of the highest rated flanksmen in his days on the South Coast, and by the time Giggs turned professional Wallace was battling with 19-year-old Lee Sharpe for the role of first choice left winger.
Giggs made his League debut against Everton at Old Trafford on 2 March 1991, as a substitute for the injured full-back Denis Irwin in a 2–0 defeat. In his first full start, Giggs was credited with his first ever goal in a 1–0 win in the Manchester derby on 4 May 1991, though it appeared to be a Colin Hendry own goal. However, he was not included in the squad of 16 that defeated Barcelona in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final 11 days later. Lee Sharpe, who had now won the race to displace Danny Wallace as United's regular left winger, took to the field as United's left winger, while Wallace was selected as a substitute.
He became a first-team regular early in the 1991–92 season, yet remained active with the youth system and captained the team, made up of many of "Fergie's Fledglings", to an FA Youth Cup triumph in 1992.
Giggs broke into the first team even though he was still aged only 17, a mark of his skill and maturity, and paved the way as the first of many Manchester United youth players to rise into the first team under Ferguson. As the youngest member of the United first team squad, Giggs looked to the older players such as Bryan Robson for advice. Robson recommended that Giggs sign up with Harry Swales, the agent that he himself had inherited from Kevin Keegan.
That season, Giggs played in the team that finished as runners-up to Leeds United in the final year of the old First Division before the advent of the Premier League. United had led the table for much of the season before a run of dismal results in April saw them overtaken by the West Yorkshire side.
Giggs collected his first piece of silverware on 12 April 1992 as United defeated Nottingham Forest in the League Cup Final, after Giggs had set up Brian McClair to score the only goal of the game. At the end of the season, he was voted PFA Young Player of the Year – the award which had been credited to his colleague Lee Sharpe a year earlier.

Early career

By the start of the 1992–93 season, the first season of the newly formed Premier League, Giggs was firmly established as United's first choice left winger, and became known as one of British football's most prodigious young players. He played a key role in their first top division title win for 26 years, though they didn't go top until after Christmas and fought off competition from big spending Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers as well as surprise title contenders Norwich City.
Giggs playing for United.
His emergence and the arrival of Eric Cantona heralded the dominance of United in the new league. His manager was very protective of him, refusing to allow Giggs to be interviewed until he turned 20, eventually granting the first interview to the BBC's Des Lynam for Match of the Day in the 1993–94 season. This was the season when United won the double and Giggs was one of their key players alongside the likes of Eric Cantona, Paul Ince and Mark Hughes. Lee Sharpe, the player Giggs had ousted on the left wing a couple of years earlier, was now vying with Andrei Kanchelskis for the right wing position – with both players having key parts in the club's success.
They topped the table from the fourth game in late August and were not overtaken all season. Giggs also played for United in the Football League Cup final, where they lost 3–1 to Aston Villa, ending their hopes of a unique domestic treble.
He was afforded many opportunities not normally offered to footballers at his young age, such as hosting his own television show, Ryan Giggs' Soccer Skills, which aired in 1994, and also had a book based on the series. Giggs was part of the Premier League's attempt to market itself globally, re-forging its image after the hooliganism-blighted years of the 1980s and he featured on countless football and lad mag covers, becoming a household name, and fuelling the era where footballers started to become celebrity idols on a par with pop stars, in and around the mid to late 1990s. Despite his aversion to attention, Giggs also became a teenage pin-up and was once described as the "Premiership's First Poster Boy", and the "boy wonder",[arguably the original footballer who catapulted the term into the public lexicon. 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, where Best once quipped, "One day they might even say that I was another Ryan Giggs."
His immense popularity heralded a new era in football fandom and was also once described as the "boy who converted a million innocent teenage hearts into United fans". He burst onto the football scene in the 1990s when football was surging in popularity and becoming less working class, and when photogenic young players like Giggs and Liverpool's Jamie Redknapp were adored like popstars. It was not uncommon to have roads blocked and traffic jams when Giggs was at booksignings.
Giggs showed such unique talent that words like "genius" and "magician" were often used by admiring team mates like Paul Ince, while Gary Pallister remarked that United defenders "got twisted blood trying to mark him in training". His more experienced team-mates admired him even before he made his first-team debut, constantly asking the manager when Giggs would be selected for the first team. As Steve Bruce commented, "when Ryan ran, he ran like the wind. You couldn't hear him he was that light on his feet. He had that natural body swerve, that way with a ball only the great players have got. No disrespect to [David] Beckham and Scholesy, but he's the only one who was always going to be a superstar."
Giggs proved to be a great goalscorer, many of his memorable goals being shortlisted for various Goal of the Season awards. Widely regarded as among his best were those against Queens Park Rangers in 1993, Tottenham in 1994, Everton in 1995, Coventry in 1996, and the most remarkable of all, his solo-goal against Arsenal in the replay of the 1999 FA Cup semi-final. During extra time, Giggs picked up possession after Patrick Vieira gave the ball away, then ran from the half-way line, dribbled past the whole Arsenal back line, including Tony Adams, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown before launching his left-footed strike just under David Seaman's bar and beyond his reach. He famously whipped off his shirt as he ran to celebrate with his teammates. It also has the distinction of being the last ever goal scored in an FA Cup semi-final replay as, from the following season, the FA Cup semi-finals are decided in a single game, with extra time and a penalty shootout if required.
1994–95 saw Giggs restricted through injury to 29 Premier League games and only 1 goal, later in the season he recovered his form and fitness, though it was too late to help United to any major trophies. A failure to beat West Ham United on the final day of the season saw them lose the Premier League title to Blackburn Rovers. A week later, Giggs came on as a substitute in the FA Cup final against Everton, but United lost 1–0. It was a frustrating season for both player and club, and Giggs was not the only key player to be ruled out for crucial games. Roy Keane, Lee Sharpe and Andrei Kanchelskis had notable absences due to injuries, while Eric Cantona missed the final four months of the league campaign (and the first six weeks of the next) after being banned from football for an incident during a game at Crystal Palace in late January.
On a more positive side in the 1994-95 season, Giggs did get on the scoresheet twice in the opening Champions League game against IFK Gothenburg (a 4-2 win, although United ultimately failed to progress to the quarter-finals) and also managed a goal in the FA Cup fourth around victory over Wrexham, meaning that he had managed four in all competitions that season.
The 1995 close season brought more controversy as United sold Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis and began the following season without a major signing, though they had added Andy Cole to their ranks for a national record £7 million halfway through the previous season.
In 1995–96, Giggs returned to full form and played a vital part in United's unique second double, his goal against Everton at Goodison Park on 9 September 1995 being shortlisted for the "goal of the season" award, though it was eventually beaten by votes for a goal by Manchester City's Georgi Kinkladze. In November that season, Giggs scored two goals in a Premier League match against Southampton, arguably his finest performance of the season, where United won 4–1 to keep up the pressure on a Newcastle United side who actually went 10 points clear on 23 December but were finally overhauled by United in mid March. Giggs was also in the side for United's FA Cup final win over Liverpool on 11 May 1996, though Eric Cantona scored the late winner – the only goal of the game.
By now, Giggs had several new key colleagues in breakthrough youngsters Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, David Beckham and Paul Scholes. Beckham took over from Andrei Kanchelskis on the right wing and Butt succeeded Paul Ince in central midfield to complete a new look United midfield along with Giggs and Roy Keane. This midfield line-up was arguably even better than the one that had featured Kanchelskis and Ince.
The following season, Giggs had his first real chance to shine in Europe. Having played a key role in United winning their third league title in four seasons, he helped them reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, the first United side in 28 years to achieve this. However, their hopes of European glory were ended by Borussia Dortmund, who edged them out by winning each leg of the semi-final 1–0.
In 1997–98, United were pipped to the Premier League title by Arsenal, following a dismal run of form in March and early April, leaving them without a trophy for only the second time since 1989. The following season, Giggs missed a lot of games through injury, but when he was fit his form was consistently excellent and he played in both of United's cup finals that season. Memorable moments were his extra-time goal in the FA Cup semi-final against arch-rivals Arsenal to give United a 2–1 win, and his 90th minute equaliser in the home leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Juventus, a 1–1 draw which was followed two weeks later by a remarkable 3–2 win in Turin where United came from two goals behind.
The highpoint in the 1998–99 season was when Giggs set up the equalising goal scored by Teddy Sheringham in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final that set United on their way to the Treble. Striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored the winning goal with the last kick of the game two minutes later.
Giggs was also the Man of the Match as United beat Palmeiras to claim the Intercontinental Cup later that year.
By this stage, his media profile had diminished slightly, particularly due to the emergence of younger high profile players like David Beckham, who became the focus of almost unprecedented media attention on and off the field.

Since 2000

Ryan Giggs, 2006
 
Giggs became United's longest serving player when Denis Irwin left in May 2002, and he became a pivotal part of the club, despite still being in his twenties. Giggs continued to excel in the four years that followed the Treble triumph of 1999. United were Premier League champions in three of the four seasons following the treble, as well as reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals three times and the semi-finals once. He celebrated his 10-year anniversary at Old Trafford with a testimonial match against Celtic at the start of the 2001–02 campaign. However, this was one of the most disappointing seasons United had endured since Giggs made his debut for them, as a dismal run of form in early winter ultimately cost them the league title and they were surprisingly knocked out of the Champions League on away goals in the semi finals by German underdogs Bayer Leverkusen.
A year later, in the autumn of 2002, he bagged his 100th career goal in a draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
He played in his fourth FA Cup triumph on 22 May 2004, making him one of only two players (the other being Roy Keane) to have won the trophy four times while playing for Manchester United. He has also finished with a runners-up medal three times (1995, 2005 and 2007). His participation in the victory over Liverpool in September 2004 made him the third player to play 600 games for United, alongside Sir Bobby Charlton and Bill Foulkes. He was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of his contribution to the English game.
After that season, Giggs signed a two-year contract extension with United when chief executive David Gill relented on his normal policy of not signing players over 30 to contracts longer than one year. He has subsequently signed three further one-year contact extensions, to keep him at Old Trafford until at least June 2011, when he will be 37. Giggs has also benefited from being largely injury-free aside from a series of hamstring problems.
On 6 May 2007, with Chelsea only able to manage a 1–1 draw with London rivals Arsenal, Manchester United became the champions of England. In doing so, Giggs set a new record of nine league titles, beating the previous record of eight he shared with Alan Hansen and Phil Neal (who won all of their titles with Liverpool). Giggs played a starring role in United's 2007 Charity Shield victory after netting in the first half to bring the game to a 1–1 draw, which led to penalty triumph for the Red Devils after keeper Edwin van der Sar saved all of Chelsea's first three penalties.
In the 2007–08 season, Alex Ferguson adopted a rotation system between Giggs and newcomers Nani and Anderson. Nevertheless, Giggs remained the favoured choice for the anticipated clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford and put in a cross with the outside of his boot for Carlos Tévez to score his first United goal.
Giggs scored his 100th league goal for United against Derby County on 8 December 2007, which United won 4–1. More landmarks have been achieved: on 20 February 2008 he made his 100th appearance in the UEFA Champions League in a game against Lyon and on 11 May 2008 he came on as a substitute for Park Ji-Sung to equal Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances for United. Fittingly, Giggs scored the second goal in that match, sealing his, and United's, tenth Premier League title. Ten days later, on 21 May 2008, Giggs broke Bobby Charlton's appearance record for United when coming on as an 87th minute substitute for Paul Scholes in the Champions League Final against Chelsea. United would go on to win the Final, defeating Chelsea 6–5 on penalties after a 1–1 draw after extra time. Giggs converted what became the winning penalty in sudden-death for United and joined Steve McManaman and team-mate Owen Hargreaves in becoming the only British players to have played in and won more than one Champions League final. (This is not true for European Cups as several Nottingham Forest players achieved this in 1979 and 1980 and several Liverpool players in 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1984.) Giggs lifted the Champions League trophy with Rio Ferdinand as captain Gary Neville had been out for nearly the entire season with an injury.
Giggs after the match against Manchester City in February 2008
 
At the start of Manchester United's 2008–09 campaign, Sir Alex Ferguson began placing Giggs at central midfield, behind the forwards, instead of his favoured wing position. Giggs has since adapted very well to his new position and supplied two assists in as many games, against Middlesbrough and Aalborg. Sir Alex Ferguson said in an interview, "(Giggs) is a very valuable player, he will be 35 this November but at 35, he can be United's key player. At 25, Ryan would shatter defenders with his run down the flank, but at 35, he will play deeper." Giggs has begun taking his coaching badges and Ferguson has hinted that he would like Giggs to serve as his coaching staff after retirement like Ole Gunnar Solskjær did.
Ryan Giggs, 2008
 
On 8 February 2009, Giggs maintained his record of being the only player to score in every season of the Premier League since its inception in 1992 by netting the only goal in a 1–0 win over West Ham United.Following speculation earlier in the year, in February 2009, Giggs signed a one-year extension to his current contract – which was due to expire in June 2009. After a successful season, Giggs was short-listed along with four other Manchester United team mates for the PFA Player of the Year. On 26 April 2009, Giggs received the award, despite having started just twelve games throughout the 08/09 season (at the time of receiving the trophy). This was the first time in his illustrious career that Giggs had received the award. Prior to the awards ceremony, Alex Ferguson had given his backing for Giggs to win the award and stated that it would be fitting, given Giggs' long term contribution to the game. Giggs made his 800th appearance for Manchester United on 29 April 2009, in the 1–0 semi-final win over Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League. On 16 May 2009, Manchester United won the Premier League after a 0–0 draw against Arsenal, both United's and Giggs' 11th Premier League titles.
Giggs scored his first Manchester United hat-trick in a pre-season friendly against Hangzhou Greentown after coming on as a second-half substitute.
On 12 September 2009, Giggs scored United's first goal in a 3–1 Premier League win against Tottenham Hotspur, at White Hart Lane, maintaining his record of having scored in every Premier League season since its inception, the only player to have done so. This game also marked Giggs' 700th start for United. Giggs scored his 150th goal for United, only the ninth player to do so for the club, against Wolfsburg in his first Champions League game of the season. The goal, as well as his previous strike of the season against Spurs, was direct from a free-kick, albeit with a huge deflection. It also made it a record-equalling 14th Champions League season in which he had scored, drawing him level with Raúl who had achieved the feat 15 days earlier. He then set up Michael Carrick to score the winner to give United a 2–1 win against the Champions League newcomers. On 28 November 2009, the eve of his 36th birthday, Giggs scored his 100th Premier League goal – all for Manchester United – scoring the final goal in a 4–1 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park. The goal along with his previous two strikes of the season was another free kick, stating his claim for regular set-piece taker since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, he also became only the 17th player to reach the milestone in the Premier League.
On 30 November 2009, the day after his 36th birthday, it was reported that Giggs would be offered an additional one-year contract which would run until the end of the 2010–11 season and see him past the 20th anniversary of his first game and first goal for United. On the same day, Giggs was nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2009. On 5 December 2009, Giggs' appearance against West Ham United – a game that he ended playing at left-back – equalled countryman Gary Speed's outfield record of 535 Premier League games. On 12 December, Giggs surpassed Speed's feat by playing against Aston Villa. The following day, Giggs won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. On 18 December 2009, Giggs signed a one-year contract extension with United, keeping him at the club until June 2011, taking him past the 20th anniversary of his first professional contract and that of his first team debut – a rare occurrence of a player reaching the 20-year mark with the same club and with unbroken service. On 31 December 2009, Giggs was named the Manchester United Player of the Decade. On 24 April 2010, Giggs scored the first ever league penalties of his career in his 900th game for club and country. He netted two penalties in a 3–1 home win over Tottenham Hotspur, which was crucial as it sent United to the top of the Premier League after several weeks in second place behind Chelsea.
On 16 August 2010, Giggs kept up his record of scoring in every Premier League season since its inception as he netted United's third in their 3–0 home victory over Newcastle United in their opening fixture of the new campaign. As he found the net in the final two seasons of the old Football League First Division, he has now scored in 21 successive top division campaigns.

Ryan Giggs : Early years


Early years

Ryan Joseph Wilson was born at St David's Hospital in Canton, Cardiff, Wales, to Danny Wilson, a rugby union player for Cardiff RFC, and Lynne Giggs (now Lynne Johnson). As a child, Giggs grew up in Ely, a suburb of western Cardiff, but spent much time with his mother's parents and playing football on the roads outside their house in Pentrebane. In 1980, when Giggs was six years old, his father switched rugby codes and signed for Swinton RLFC, forcing the whole family to move north to Swinton, a town in Salford, Greater Manchester. The move was a traumatic one, as Giggs was very close to his grandparents in Cardiff, but he would often return there with his family at weekends or on school holidays. Giggs is mixed race – his paternal grandfather is from Sierra Leone and has spoken of the racism he faced as a child.
After moving to Salford, Giggs appeared for the local team, Deans FC, who were coached by Manchester City scout Dennis Schofield. His first game for Deans ended in a 9–0 defeat to Stretford Vics but, nevertheless, many people commented that Giggs had been the best player on the pitch that day. Schofield recommended Giggs to Manchester City, and he was signed up to their School of Excellence. Meanwhile, Giggs continued to play for Salford Boys, who went on to reach the final of the Granada Schools Cup competition at Anfield in 1987. Giggs captained the Salford team to victory over their Blackburn counterparts, and the trophy was presented to him by Liverpool chief scout Ron Yeats. Yeats was impressed by Giggs's performance, and would have recommended him to Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, had Giggs not already been picked up by Manchester United.
While playing for Deans, Giggs would be watched regularly by local newsagent and Old Trafford steward Harold Wood. Wood regularly told the senior staff at Manchester United about Giggs, but they did not send anyone down to watch him until Wood spoke personally to Alex Ferguson. So Ferguson sent a scout to a Deans match, who was impressed enough for United to offer Giggs a trial over the 1986 Christmas period. Prior to the trial, 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. They offered to waive YTS forms, and persuaded Giggs to sign by offering the opportunity to turn professional in three years. Giggs signed there and then.
Using the name Ryan Wilson, Giggs captained England at Schoolboy level, playing at Wembley Stadium against Germany in 1989. He changed his surname at the age of 16, when his mother remarried so that "the world would know he was his mother's son". His parents had separated two years earlier.

Ryan Joseph Wilson : Introduction


Ryan Joseph Giggs OBE(born Ryan Joseph Wilson on 29 November 1973) is a Welsh footballer who has played for Manchester United for his entire professional career. He established himself as a left-winger during the 1990s and continued in this position well into the 2000s, but he has been increasingly used in a deeper playmaking role in his later years.
Giggs holds a host of football records, including that of being the most decorated player in English football history. On 16 May 2009, he became the first footballer to collect 11 top division English league title medals. Giggs was the first player in history to win two consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year awards (1992 and 1993) and is the only player to have played and scored in every single season of the Premier League since its inception.
Giggs has had a long-lasting domestic and continental career and is the first player in UEFA Champions League history to have scored in 11 successive seasons, on top of being elected into the PFA Team of the Century in 2007, the Premier League Team of the Decade, in 2003, as well as the FA Cup Team of the Century. Giggs is also the only United player to have played in all 11 Premier League winning teams and the first three League Cup-winning teams. At the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, held on 21 May 2008, Giggs surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances for Manchester United to become the club's all-time leader in appearances.
At international level, Giggs played for the Welsh national team prior to his retirement from international football on 2 June 2007, and was once the youngest player to ever represent his country. In addition to the many honours Giggs has received within football such as being named in the Football League 100 Legends (the last active player in the list), he was appointed an OBE in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours List, and was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005, for his services to English Football. He was named as BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2009.

Ryan Giggs : Footballer



Ryan Giggs
Giggs PL trophy.jpg
Personal information
Full name Ryan Joseph Giggs
Date of birth 29 November 1973 (1973-11-29) (age 36)
Place of birth Canton, Cardiff, Wales
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current club Manchester United
Number 11
Youth career
1985–1987 Manchester City
1987–1990 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990– Manchester United 595 (109)
National team
1990 Wales U21 1 (0)
1991–2007 Wales 64 (12)

Ronaldo confident of win over 'strong' Barcelona



MADRID (AFP) - – Barcelona are a tough proposition but Real Madrid will gain the upper hand when the Spanish giants clash in the first classico of the season on Monday, Real's Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo predicted Thursday.
"Barcelona is still a very difficult team. Barca is a very strong team, especially when they play at home. They are there to fight for the league title," he told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional event.
"We know they are playing at a good level and for this reason it will be an important and beautiful game. May the best team win. And the best team will be Madrid," the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year added.
Ronaldo rejected suggestions that the match would be decisive like a final, claiming it is just "another match".
"We have one point more, we are playing away but we are going with the intention of getting a result. It is not a final because there are still many matches left," the 25-year-old said.
"The two teams are very good, they are very close but with a distinct playing style. Barca use more 'tiqui-taca', we play more with the goal of going as far as possible as quickly as possible," he added, using the Spanish term used to describe Barcelona's short-passing style.
The Catalan side's double victory in the fixture last year was crucial in determining the outcome of La Liga, which Barcelona retained by the margin of one point.
Ronaldo has never scored against Barcelona and he failed to impress in last season's two 'clasicos' but he is in astonishing form this season.
It will be Real's first match against Barcelona under Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, who joined the Spanish side in May from Inter Milan.
Under his guidance the Italian side eliminated Barca from the Champions League last season.
Ronaldo said he was "proud" to be working with Mourinho.
"I am an ambitious person and so is he, maybe it is because we are both Portuguese. I am proud to be working with a coach of this level, who has won everything," he said.

Rooney apologises to Manchester United fans



GLASGOW (AFP) - – Wayne Rooney has tried to make his peace with Manchester United's fans by saying sorry for the way his contract talks were concluded last month.
The England striker appeared to question United's desire and left open the possibility he might move to local rivals Manchester City.
It left a sour taste with many United fans who, when Rooney did extend his Old Trafford contract by five years, felt he toyed with their emotions in the hope of getting a better financial deal.
Rooney, before scoring his match-winning penalty in United's 1-0 Champions League victory over Rangers at Ibrox here on Wednesday, said: "I feel like I have apologised to the fans but everyone keeps saying that I haven't.
"If that is the case, then I apologise for my side of things.
"I have made my point clear since I signed my contract that I am committed to this club for the long term. I want to be successful here.
"Everyone is saying that I was definitely going to Manchester City. Believe me if I had gone it wouldn't have been in England."
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson blamed Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford, for giving the forward bad advice but the 25-year-old himself was adamant he never wanted to leave Old Trafford.
"You see so many players leave this club and not do so well so I am delighted to have stayed."

Wasim wants fresh faces in PCB



Wasim wants fresh faces in PCB


The former Pakistan captain believes that the change of guard could start with the appointment of a "youngish" chief selector in place of Abdul Qadir, who has recently resigned from the position.

"What Pakistan need is the involvement of younger men, people in their thirties or forties who have played cricket in the modern era because they are the ones who will have the capability of make things right for the game," Akram told 'The News' at Lord's on Tuesday.

Without criticising Qadir, Akram said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should appoint a chief selector from his (Akram's) age bracket.
"It's important for Pakistan cricket that the chief selector is a younger guy, who has extensive knowledge of modern day cricket. He should be fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the local cricketers with complete knowledge of players from rival teams.

"Selecting a balanced team is no child's play and only a good professional can do the job," he stressed.

It is rumoured that former Pakistan captain Aamer Sohail is likely to take over as chief selector.

Akram also suggested that players like Moin Khan, who are actively involved in domestic cricket, can be ideal candidates for the job. Akram, however, ruled himself out of taking the job because of his commitments as a television commentator but offered his services as an advisor.

"I'm always ready to do my bit for Pakistan cricket," he said. "People say that I'm never around to help our cricketers. But the problem is that the people running our cricket never ask for my help. I can't force myself on them."

Akram, who played 104 Tests and 356 One-day Internationals before retiring in 2003, said that the PCB doesn't have to appoint a paid chief selector. "In fact it will be better to have a chief selector, who already has a job because such a person will perform the job without being under pressure.

"A paid official will always be worrying about retaining his job and at that times that can be a handicap."

The former Test pacer had picked Pakistan as his favourite team to win the World Twenty20 title but is disappointed at the way Younis Khan's men have performed so far in the tournament.

"I'm actually quite surprised at the way Pakistan have played here so far," said Akram. "I mean, they had an easy group and should have reached the Super Eights without many problems."

Pakistan were facing an early elimination from the World Twenty20 after crashing to a big defeat against hosts England on Sunday at The Oval.

Jayasuriya, Dilshan overpower WI


Jayasuriya, Dilshan overpower WI


NOTTINGHAM: Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillekeratne Dilshan hammered an opening stand of 124 as Sri Lanka beat the West Indies by 15 runs in the World Twenty20 here on Wednesday.

The duo lifted Sri Lanka to 192-5, a total the West Indies chased bravely despite the absence of explosive opener and captain Chris Gayle, who missed the Group C match due to a knee injury.

The West Indians ended at 177-5, fired by a spectacular counter-attack by Dwayne Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan, who put on 77 off 59 balls for the fifth wicket.
Bravo hit a 38-ball 51 that included five fours and two sixes, while Sarwan remained unbeaten on 28.

The match, watched by a sell-out crowd at Trent Bridge, held only academic interest since both teams had already qualified for the Super Eights at Australia’s expense.

Sri Lanka, who thumped Australia by six wickets in their first match, are hot favourites to make the semifinals from Super Eights Group F which includes Pakistan, Ireland and New Zealand.

The West Indies are drawn in the tougher Group E which also has defending champions India, South Africa and hosts England.

Two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals.

Left-handed Jayasuriya, at 39 the oldest player in the 12-nation tournament, smashed 81 off 47 balls that was studded with 10 boundaries and three sixes.

Dilshan, who contributed just 38 in the century partnership, went on to make 74 off 47 balls before he became one of seamer Lendl Simmons’ four victims.

All-rounder Kieron Pollard bore the brunt of the Sri Lankan assault, conceding 45 runs from his three overs.

The West Indies made a spirited reply, reaching 70-1 by the seventh over before losing three wickets in the space of as many runs.

Two of those wickets fell in one over from spinner Ajantha Mendis, who had Xavier Marshall caught in the deep before bowling danger man Shivnarine Chanderpaul for one.

Score board

West Indies won toss

Sri Lanka

S T Jayasuriya lbw b Simmons 81

T M Dilshan c Benn b Simmons 74

*†K C Sangakkara c Fletcher b Simmons 5

D P M D Jayawardene c Ramdin b Simmons 4

L P C Silva c Ramdin b Taylor 7

J Mubarak not out 8

A D Mathew not out 3

Extras (lb5, w4, nb1) 10

Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 192

Did not bat: M Muralitharan, B A W Mendis, S L Malinga, I Udana

Fall: 1-124, 2-147, 3-168, 4-172, 5-189

Bowling: Taylor 4-0-32-1 (1nb); Edwards 2-0-37-0; Bravo 4-0-29-0 (3w); Benn 4-0-25-0; Pollard 3-0-45-0 (1w); Simmons 3-0-19-4

West Indies

L M P Simmons c Jayawardene b Muralitharan 29

A D S Fletcher b Malinga 13

X M Marshall c Silva b Mendis 14

S Chanderpaul b Mendis 1

R R Sarwan not out 28

D J Bravo c Mubarak b Malinga 51

K A Pollard not out 19

Extras (lb4, w17, nb1) 22

Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 177

Did not bat: *†D Ramdin, S J Benn, F H Edwards, J E Taylor

Fall: 1-38, 2-70, 3-71, 4-73, 5-150

Bowling: Jayasuriya 3-0-34-0 (1w); Malinga 4-0-45-2 (6w); Udana 4-0-36-0 (8w); Mendis 4-0-25-2; Muralitharan 4-0-21-1 (1w); Mathew 1-0-12-0 (1nb, 1w)

Result: Sri Lanka won by 15 runs

Man of the match: Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka)

Umpires: B F Bowden (New Zealand) and S J A Taufel (Australia). TV umpire: I J Gould (England). Match referee: B C Broad (England)

PCB requests for Razzaq as replacement



PCB requests for Razzaq as replacement


LONDON: Pakistan on Wednesday made a special request for the inclusion of experienced all-rounder Abdul Razzaq in their 15-man World Twenty20 squad as a replacement for the injured Yasir Arafat.

Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, said that the request has been sent to the International Cricket Council (ICC) ahead of his team’s Super Eights match against Sri Lanka here at Lord’s on Friday (tomorrow).
“We have requested for Razzaq’s inclusion as a replacement player,” Butt was quoted as saying in an interview.

An ICC spokesman said here that the technical committee of the World Twenty20 will take a final decision on Razzaq’s inclusion.

The decision is expected to be made on Thursday (today). Sources said that there is a 50-50 chance that Razzaq may be allowed to come in as Arafat’s replacement.

He was not a part of Pakistan’s 30-man squad but there is a possibility that the technical committee may give the green signal for his inclusion in the Pakistan team.

Razzaq, who played 46 Tests and 231 One-day Internationals, joined the unofficial ICL as a protest against his omission from the squad selected for the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007.

The Lahore-based player said he was delighted at the prospect of playing for Pakistan again.

“I am very happy and if given a chance I will do my very best for the country,” he said.

Pakistan had included Razzaq in their provisional 30-man squad for the ICC World Twenty20 on condition of clearance from the ICC.

Later they withdrew him and two other former ICL rebels — Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Imran Nazir — from the preliminary squad.

Last month, the PCB waived the “cooling period” for the Razzaq, meaning that he was available for national duty.

Razzaq had a long spell with the ICL, joining the league in 2007 after he was excluded from the World Twenty20 squad the same year. He was one of the key players for the Hyderabad Heroes in their title win in 2008.

 
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