The only surprise about Ryan Giggs being named PFA Player's
Player of the Year in April 2009 was that it had taken so long for
him to win the prestigious award.
After all, he'd previously received countless other individual
gongs - including the PFA Young Player award twice in his early
career - not to mention more team honours than any other United
player in the club's illustrious history.
Ryan is United's record appearance-maker; he surpassed Sir Bobby
Charlton's 758 on the night he helped the Reds secure a third
European Cup triumph - his second - in Moscow on 21 May 2008.
He's also the only player to have scored in every Premier League
season; he maintained that remarkable record with a volley in
United's opening-day win over Newcastle in August 2010.
United's most decorated player might never have graced Old
Trafford, however, had it not been for Sir Alex Ferguson's
intervention. Cardiff-born Giggs was attending Manchester City's
School of Excellence in his early teens, but Sir Alex made a
personal visit to his house on his 14th birthday and Ryan jumped at
the chance to sign for his boyhood favourites.
Ryan turned professional at United in November 1990 and made his
league debut in the old Division One against Everton at Old
Trafford on 2 March 1991 as a substitute for Denis Irwin. His first
league start in 1991/92 also proved a memorable occasion, as he
also scored his first ever United goal that day (albeit via a huge
deflection off Colin Hendry) in a 1-0 win over Manchester
Giggs' first senior trophy arrived in November 1991 as United beat
Red Star Belgrade in the European Super Cup final - Ryan came on
for Lee Martin. He picked up his second winners' medal five months
later as the Reds beat Nottingham Forest in the League Cup final.
The following season, 1992/93, saw Giggs and United win the
inaugural Premier League title.
Ryan was an integral part of two Double-winning sides, in 1993/94
and 1995/96, before going one better in 1998/99 byadding the
European Cup to the FA Cup and Premier League trophy. His
contributions to the Treble-winning campaign included a superb solo
goal to win the FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal at Villa
Park, commonly regarded as one of United's greatest ever
Ryan celebrated 10 years at Old Trafford with a testimonial match
against Celtic in 2001/02. A year later he bagged his 100th career
goal in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and became
only the second-ever player to play 700 games for United when he
helped the Reds to a dramatic 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in
March 2007. Two months later, he became a league title winner for
the ninth time, beating the record of eight championship medals
held by Liverpool legends Phil Neal and Alan Hansen.
In the interests of prolonging 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
United contract to June 2009.
December 2007 brought two landmark feats - Ryan was awarded the
OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his services to football and
he scored his 100th league career goal in the 4-0 home win over
Ryan crowned the epic 2007/08 season, his 18th in United's first
team, by scoring the Reds' second goal in the last-day league win
at Wigan and slotting home what proved to be the decisive penalty
in the Champions League final shoot-out.
Giggs' career continued with a flourish during 2008/09, when he
adopted a more central position in midfield or just off the main
striker as the Reds retained the title.
Used primarily in his old wing position during 2009/10, Ryan was
one of the Reds' most consistent performers until February when, in
a challenge with Aston Villa's Steve Sidwell, he fractured his
right arm and missed five weeks of football. The injury forced
Giggs out of key European ties, as well as the Carling Cup final
but he returned in late March to drive United's relentless (yet
ultimately unsuccessful) bid for a fourth consecutive title.
Despite not adding to his medals tally, there was still much to
celebrate personally in 2009/10. He was named BBC Sports
Personality of the Year - on 30 November, the day after his 36th
birthday - and a few weeks later he extended his Reds contract
by one year.
Giggs' most recent season brought another landmark, as he
surpassed Charlton's United league appearances record by
playing his 607th game against Liverpool in March 2011.
He'd already penned another one-year deal and this was no
sentimental gesture by Sir Alex: his elder statesman continued to
produce some instrumental performances both in the middle and out
wide. The 2010/11 title triumph was Giggs' 12th in total: it's a
record that almost defies belief.
Please note that content for this biography was taken from the
official Manchester United website.
In 2012, Ryan Giggs was selected to captain Team GB's side for
London 2012. They bowed out at the quarter final stages to South