Ryan Giggs has spent half his life playing for Manchester United’s first team, and over half his life as a United player. His list of honours is absolutely ridiculous. 10 League titles, 2 European Cups, 4 FA Cups and 2 League Cups amongst the winners medals in his possession.
During his playing career at United, which is approaching an incredible 20 years, Giggs has been linked with moves to several great European clubs, with Inter Milan the most persistent of these admirers.
With four years left on his contract back in 2002, Giggs responded to reports in Italy which suggested he was going to make a move in January transfer window.
“When I signed my contract last year I said I wanted to finish my career at United,” he said. “That is the end of the story as far as I am concerned. I still have four years left on my present contract and I am happy.”
Four years later, Giggs signed a two-year contract extension, which David Gill unusually offered to Giggsy, a player over 30. The catch was the player would have to take a pay cut, which Giggs accepted (thereby putting players like Frank Lampard to shame).
Giggsy has today questioned the motivation behind lots of modern players, claiming money couldn’t turn the heads of Neville, Scholes and himself.
“Many players want to make as much money as they can and change teams for ten grand,” Giggs said. “How is that going to make much difference to their lives? Foreign players have home somewhere else, so they are going to have their eyes on going back. But for the likes of me, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, this is our home.”
Giggs is much loved by the United crowd, understandably, following years of playing dedicated and committed football for our team.
“Yeah, I would (understand),” he added when asked could he empathise with fans who felt detached from the players. “If you get those players on their own they are good lads. So a lot of blame has to go to the advisors and agents who make a lot of money out of those deals and don’t have the interests of the player at heart.”
Giggs was well protected by Sir Alex Ferguson, who saw the young Welshman as having potential to end up like George Best, but this didn’t stop him from blowing his money at times.
“They’re going to learn the hard way about losing money on cars – and buying suits and only wearing them once,” Giggs said. “When I was younger I bought Porsches and Ferraris, clothes, booze and so on. These days I spend my money on my house, holidays and school fees.”
Are Giggs, Scholes and Neville the last of their kind? Or is it possible for the next generation of footballers to show such commitment to their club?