Fabien Barthez interviews Giggs and Scholes
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez sat down with Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes ahead of the derby at Manchester City.
Fabien Barthez: You started your careers 20 years ago, here in Manchester. What does Manchester mean to you and how were you able to stay at the same club for 20 years, because it is extremely rare?
Ryan Giggs: First of all, I was a Manchester United supporter. I grew up supporting the team. I was 17 years old when I first played for United. You are trying to get into the first team, to be a regular in the team, to score goals, to win trophies. I have been lucky to have had the same manager for 20 years. I think if the manager had changed, maybe I wouldn't still be here.
Paul Scholes: I also grew up as a Manchester United fan. So I have been very lucky. We are lucky to live in an area where there is such a big club, and to have been good enough to play for such a big team.
Barthez: Players of your calibre are very much in demand from clubs all over the world; at some point in your career you must have had requests to go and play for other clubs.
Scholes: For me, I never did. I don't know why. It was never in my mind and I never needed to, because I just wanted to play in this area and to play for the biggest club in the world.
Giggs: I think as a football player, you want challenges and every season is a challenge at Manchester United. If you are at a smaller club or a club that doesn't win things maybe you want to go to another club and want to win trophies to better yourself. At Manchester United, I think every season you want to win the Premier League, to win the Champions League. Or maybe the season before, you didn't win anything, so you want to win it back. There are always challenges at the beginning of every season and that is what you want.
Barthez: What is your actual role in the team, what does Ferguson want for you, what is the special role you play every day in the dressing rooms?
Giggs: Our role has changed. I have known the manager since I was 14 years old; you look up to him so much at that age. You have the manager, you have the coaches and you have the experienced players. Whether you are vocal, you speak a lot or whether you are quite, you are still set as an example. Scholes, the way he trains every day, as a young player growing up, you just have to watch his training, the way he plays.
Barthez: In the last 10 years, has football changed?
Giggs: Yes, it has changed; it is completely different from when we started. When we started, we had to clean the boots, clean the stadium, etc... We did all these things. Now, young players don't have to do that. There is so much money in the game.
Barthez: Do you think it is a good thing?
Giggs: I think it is the culture, now. It is very hard to deal with agents. The clubs with a lot of money, they want the best players at a young age and they pay the money. The players aren't going to say no. I don't know how to stop it; I don't know how you go back to where we were when we started, where you actually had to earn the money. Nowadays, you just get paid. You get the big money before you have done anything. That is just the culture now and the money in football.
Barthez: How long will you continue to play, and what will you do after your career?
Scholes: I don't really know. I started doing a little bit of coaching but I wasn't ready for it and came back as a player. Maybe I will try my luck again in a few years.
Giggs: I signed a contract for next year as well, so I want to play at least next year. I still feel good and I am playing with good players. The manager is obviously the best; he knows how to look after me. In the future, I don't know, I would imagine going to coaching or management but when and where, I don't know.
Barthez: Do you think the derby against City has changed?
Giggs: I think on the pitch, a derby is a derby. As a player, you always want to win and you never want to lose these kind of games. I think the dynamic has changed because, now, City have got much more money. The build-up of the game has been two weeks before whereas, 10 years ago, it was maybe two or three days before the derby. Now it is like two or three weeks before. It is a massive game, and the press and the media build it up. Of course, they are going for the championship as well and 10 or 15 years ago, it never happened. Outside of the club, it is a bigger game because they are going for the league title but as player you want to win anyway.
Barthez: What do you think about Euro 2012 the national team?
Scholes: In major tournaments, people in England expect us to win. It doesn't always work how we want and we found that out in the last few years, the last few tournaments. Whether we have a manager for this year will probably decide how far we go. I think the players have to go into it and enjoy the tournament. Hopefully we can get it right and hopefully beat France.
Barthez: What relationships do you have with Ferguson because you are the pillars of this squad? Do you have a kind of father-son relationship?
Giggs: For me, it changed like I said before. I have known him since I was 13 or 14 years old. Throughout my career, he has helped me more than any other person. Now, he talks to you more about tactics, what team we are going to play. We are experienced and we are older players. That definitely changed.
Barthez: How can you define Manchester United in one word?