Manchester United’s bizarre, disappointing season ended today with a 1-1 draw at Southampton. Ryan Giggs coached his last match as interim manager, and it is a good bet that his substitute appearance in the last home match earlier this week was his final one as a United player. Giggs has had a tremedous career since his debut in 1991, holding the club record for appearances and winning two European Cups and numerous league titles and domestic cups. He scored in every season of his career prior to this one.
It is difficult to write about his career simply because it was so successful; had you made up a fictional character with all of Giggs’s accomplishments before he came along no one would have found it credible. He is one of the sport’s all-time greats, and it frustrates me that he didn’t give himself the opportunity to play one last match today.
Here are two clips that epitomize Giggs’s sublime talent and his value to United:
First, his amazing solo effort to win the 1999 FA Cup semifinal against Arsenal, in which he dribbles the ball from United’s half into Arsenal’s penalty area before ending the run with a first-rate finish. This goal epitomizes the banner celebrating Giggs that hangs at Old Trafford: “Ryan Giggs: Tearing You Apart Since 1991.”
Second, highlights from the 1999 Champions League final, United’s greatest triumph, in which Giggs assisted on Teddy Sheringham’s match-tying goal.