Unprofessional Foul


July 19, 2010

Ryan Giggs: Best Ever? It’s Not That Daft

Great player or the greatest player?

So Wes Brown called Ryan Giggs the best Man Utd. has ever had. Is he crazy? Or crazy like a fox?

It’s no secret that Ryan Giggs is my favorite player of all time, but when I saw the quotes from Brown, I thought maybe he had injured his brain under that ginger hair.

“I know it is going to sound daft this but I would have to say Giggsy. Of course, you have got the likes of Maradona and PelĂ© who were world-class players, but for me it is Giggsy. His overall game and his achievements are just incredible,” Brown said.

He has a point, but just to be fair, Pele played with Santos from 1958-1973 and had more than 600 goals in 656 appearances for the club before heading to the New York Cosmos. As for Maradona, I’ll give this one to Brown. Maradona played with seven different clubs, scoring 311 in 490 matches. Giggs’ success at the club level is greater than Maradona’s, and it could be argued that if you break down all the stats over time, Giggs has had a better, more consistent career than Maradona did.

Brown continues: “You get one-offs every now and again and he’s certainly one of them. To have performed consistently well at the top level for such a long time and stayed with one team is amazing. It is difficult to think of anyone else like Ryan; Sir Bobby [Charlton] is probably the only other player to compare with Giggsy.”

On this point, I tend to agree. Giggs has 156 goals in 838 appearances for Manchester United, but his success has been so much more than that. Remember that he’s eighth on the all-time list for the Red Devils from a winger position on a side that, for many years, expected its wingers to set up goals, not score them (TACTICS!). That Giggs has spent almost 20 years as the top choice on one of the two wings has to say something about his quality, as his speed, his guile and his work rate have allowed him to stay relevant after the rest of that vaunted generation of United players have slid into obscurity.

I think the biggest reason Giggs isn’t counted among the best of all time is because he plays for Wales and, therefore, has never even sniffed a World Cup or Euro tournament. The legends of Pele and Maradona were made with their countries, not with their clubs. Giggs hasn’t had that luxury.

Now, I’m not going to say Giggs is the best player of all time. It’s apples and oranges and different eras and so on. But in the argument for best in Man United history? You have to put him up there with George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton. If he’s not the best ever, he’s certainly one of the two best ever.

All of this said, it would be a horrible move for an MLS team to bring Giggs to the league. As much as I love him, he’s on the definite downslope of his career. Bringing him over would be the epitome of the old NASL approach, and it would be bad for him and the league.

So you’re not that daft, Wes Brown. Just don’t get hurt anytime soon, OK? Thanks.

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The Stretford End