Yesterday once more
Man United legend Ryan Giggs turns 37 next week but he looks as unstoppable as ever.
There’s only one player who has made the most appearances for Manchester United, scored the most Premiership goals and won the most league titles ever.
Amazingly, ryan Joseph Giggs, who turns 37 on Nov 29, still remains a key player for Manchester United – his one and only club.
he’s best remembered for his darting runs along the flanks, leaving flustered defenders in the wake although today its his resilience, sublime skills and sense of timing which keep him dynamic.
United’s most decorated hero, who has played in more than 800 games and won 23 medals in 20 years at Old Trafford, does not quite look like he is about to hang up his boots.
As sir Alex Ferguson said during Gigg’s last birthday, the Welsh Wizard might yet be good for another season.
Birthdays have always been momentous for Giggs. he joined the club on his 14th in 1987 and became professional when he turned 17 three years later.
since then, he has more than proven to be one of the best players with records that are hard to match.
he was named Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year in 2009, a longoverdue accolade.
he won the young player’s award twice, in 1992 and 1993 – the first to win the award in consecutive years. (robbie Fowler and Wayne rooney have since matched the feat).
Giggs is the only non-striker who has scored the highest number of goals in Premier League games and holds United’s fastest goal on record - 15 seconds.
Along with fellow Welshman Gary speed, he is also one of two players to have scored in every Premiership season and the first player in Champions League history to score in 12 successive years.
But more than being a extremely gifted footballer, Giggs is perhaps the only United player who has supporters from rivals clubs including Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool (no, not Manchester City where he originally trained as a boy, before he was famously lured away by Ferguson).
his humility, courtesy and decency, both on and off the pitch are the main reasons.
Giggs has collected the fewest of yellow cards among players of his age and has never been sent off while playing for United.
he was shown red only once - when playing for Wales. even on that occasion, it was not a straight red but for a second yellow.
he has stood apart as a cool-headed, mature gentleman, in a sport infamous for crude behaviour and sex scandals.
Giggs, who married his long-time partner stacey Cooke in 2007 and has two children with her - Liberty Beau, seven and Zach Joseph, four - is a UNICeF representative deeply involved in causes AIDs awareness in Africa, campaigns against landmines and racism.
As a child, he was taunted in school because his father, Danny Wilson, then a professional rugby player, was an immigrant from sierra Leone.
his parents separated when he was 13 and he later took on his mother’s surname.
Despite his low profile, Giggs achieved much as a celebrity, even very early in his career.
Long before the likes of David Beckham or Cristiano ronaldo, he was already a football poster boy, tagged as “Boy Wonder” by the tabloids and being compared to the likes of (the late) George Best, Johan Cryuff and Diego Maradona
There is no question of his still immense marketability.
he has been featured in ads for reebok, sovil Titus, Citizen, Givenchy, Fuji, Patek Phillipe, Quorn Burgers and Celcom.
Currently, Giggs is the face for swiss luxury watch brand CYMA in China, hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
According to stephan Cieplik, a former German professional who is Total sports Asia’s consultant for the endorsement deal, the brand’s distributors, City Chain Co Ltd of hong Kong had initially planned for only one year but sales have been so good that the company quickly extended the deal to secure Giggs for another year.
There is still a lot of demand for Giggs around the world as he is such great ambassador for the beautiful game.
This living legend has consistently reinvented himself as a player to become football’s perfect role model. Perhaps the ultimate tribute was by George Best, United idol of the 1960s who once said: “One day they might even say that I was another ryan Giggs”
Penblwydd Hapus (happy Birthday), ryan Giggs.
Power up!: The Welsh wizard still going strong in the big league.