Girls around Manchester went crazy for Ryan Giggs in the 90s. He was a teenage girls dream with his curly locks, his hairy chest, and his muscley legs.
He had every chance to go the same way George Best did, shagging and boozing his way around town, courting the media’s attention and lapping up any sponsorship deal that came along.
Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, Giggs shunned that lifestyle, by and large, whilst the likes of David Beckham seemed to embrace it. Shagging and boozing aside, Beckham married a Spice Girl and became the face of plenty of products.
How have the careers of these two players differed because of this? Immeasurably.
“I didn’t embrace that lifestyle, like David Beckham,” said Giggs. “He was comfortable with it. I was comfortable with the football and with the photo shoots. But I was never comfortable with people following me around. I felt that kind of attention would have negatively affected my football. Players today are like actors. They have publicists, people running their lives. We just had an agent or solicitor.”
Earlier this year, Ryan Giggs was lifting his second European Cup and tenth Premiership trophy, after scoring the crucial penalty in the European Cup final, as well as netting the goal that killed off Wigan on the final day of the season. He has broken the record for the most appearances for Manchester United, whilst winning more English league titles than any other player. In contrast, David Beckham was playing Major League Soccer for LA Galaxy.
Let this be a lesson for all young footballers! Ryan Giggs, we salute you!