The unrivalled playing career of Ryan Giggs

He is the most decorated footballer in history having claimed 34 major trophies during a playing career that spanned 24 seasons at Premier League giants Manchester United. 
 
Now entering the next stage of his football career as the new manager of Wales, Giggs has wealth of experience, and success, to pass on to the next generation. 
 
Giggs made his senior Manchester United debut against Everton in March 1991 as a raw and exciting 17-year old, and went onto make 963 appearances for the Old Trafford side before announcing his retirement in May 2014 at the age of 40.
 
His glittering trophy haul during that time included 13 Premier League titles, two UEFA Champions League trophies, and four FA Cups. Giggs scored 168 competitive goals in the colours of Manchester United, and was awarded the OBE in 2007 for his services to football.
 
Born in Cardiff as Ryan Wilson, Giggs played the first of 64 games for Wales in October 1991 when he came off the bench in  a 4-1 defeat to then world champions Germany in Nuremberg to become the youngest-ever Welsh international at the age of 17 years and 321 days.
 
He eventually retired from international football in May 2007 to concentrate on his club career, and despite being regarded as one of the best players in the world, he failed to make it to the finals of a major tournament with Wales. Giggs scored 12 goals for his country during his 16-year international career, the first in a 2-0 win over Belgium in Cardiff in March 1993.
 
Giggs lifts the UEFA Champions League trophy in 2008
 
Despite his consistent success at Manchester United, international football proved to be a frustrating experience for Giggs, as Wales narrowly failed to qualify for both the 1994 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2004.
 
Injuries curtailed his involvement with the national team, and his club longevity was helped by his decision to retire from international football at the age of 33.
 
In July 2013, Giggs was appointed player-coach at Manchester United under David Moyes, and was appointed interim-manager for the final four games of the season following the dismissal of Moyes in April 2014.
 
During his brief spell in charge, Giggs handed Wales youngster Tom Lawrence his Manchester United debut. Giggs then served as assistant to Louis van Gaal for the following two seasons after announcing his retirement as a player.
 
 
During his hugely-successful playing career, Giggs eclipsed the Manchester United appearance record held by Bobby Charlton, and collected a string of individual awards to compliment his unrivalled trophy haul both domestically and in Europe.
 
His status demands respect, and his success will prove inspirational to the young players currently emerging from the intermediate teams as Wales enters a new international era. 
  • Related keywords: Wales, Ryan Giggs, Manchester United
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