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10 top goals by Giggs

The Guardian
Thursday, January 16, 2014

RYAN Joseph Giggs is a Welsh footballer who plays for Manchester United. At the age of 40, he is currently the oldest player in the Old Trafford camp for the 2013/2014 season: Giggs is considered to be the most decorated player in English football history.

Ten of his greatest goals

As chosen by Jacob Steinberg earlier last year:

1) Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United, 19 September 1992

The quality lies as much in Giggs's lightning speed as it does in the simplicity of the goal. Count the touches. One to take the ball past Dean Austin after his slip, one to nutmeg Jason Cundy, one to zip round Ian Walker in the Tottenham goal and one to fire the ball into the empty net. Breathtaking. Giggs was 18.

2) QPR 2-3 Manchester United, 5 February 1994

This goal is remarkably similar to the one against Tottenham, as Giggs seizes on a loose touch from Ray Wilkins before driving towards the QPR area. First he struts past a ludicrous lunge from Darren Peacock and then switches left, his change of direction leaving one QPR defender flat on his backside. Giggs then rifles a superb shot past Jan Stejsdal into the bottom right corner.

3) Leeds 0-2 Manchester United, 27 April 1994

Earlier in the season Leeds had held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, Gary Kelly marking Giggs out of the game. Ahead of the return match there were suggestions that Kelly would do a number on Giggs again. Not so. United are already 1-0 up when Giggs picks up possession on the left touchline. Faced by Kelly and Gary McAllister, his options are sparse. Then, a shake of the hips fools both and the No11 is away. A perfect one-two with Mark Hughes on the edge of Leeds' area lets Giggs stride through before finding the top corner virtually to seal the title for United.

4) Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United, 6 April 1996

Going into the Manchester derby at Maine Road, United were three points ahead of Kevin Keegan's Newcastle at the top having played a game more. Twice United took the lead in the match , twice Manchester City equalised, with Newcastle winning. Then on 77 minutes Eric Cantona slips a pass through to Giggs on the left. Instead of challenging him Keith Curle waves Giggs through, like a waiter ushering a customer into a restaurant. Giggs shows it does not always pay to be this polite and the surprise factor in his early, rising shot was enough to deceive Eike Immel.

5) Manchester United 3-2 Juventus, 1 October 1997

United had played Juventus twice in the previous season and had been swatted aside in both matches but the Italians' sheen of invincibility vanished here. This match signalled United's coming of age in Europe. As they lead 2-1 in the dying moments Teddy Sheringham's cute pass sends Giggs haring into the area and from a seemingly impossible angle the ferocity of his shot is enough to beat Angelo Peruzzi at his near post and render Zinedine Zidane's even later free-kick irrelevant.

6) Manchester United 3-3 Barcelona, 16 September 1998

Giggs generally does not get enough credit for his heading ability. Although a header from the edge of the area against Coventry City caught the eye, there was an element of luck about that goal. This one, against a finer side and in a stunning match, was better, a goal that showcased United's pace and menace on the counter. It also contained a collector's item as David Beckham beats a full-back, Sergi, before whipping in a sublime cross for Giggs to head in at the far post.

7) Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United, 14 April 1999

Ferguson coined the phrase "twisted blood" for this goal. The most iconic moment of Giggs's career, not only for its brilliance, but also for the baring of his astonishingly hairy chest. It tends to go unnoticed that Giggs starts this FA Cup semi-final replay on the bench, coming on only after 61 minutes. But what a substitution. With United down to 10 men in extra-time after Roy Keane's red card, Giggs strikes. From the halfway line Giggs motors towards goal and, with an ageing Arsenal defence terrified of bringing him down, slaloms past Lee Dixon and Martin Keown and crashes an unstoppable shot over David Seaman. Cue the rug.

8) Juventus 0-3 Manchester United, 2003

A few weeks before this game Giggs had somehow missed a glaring open goal as United lost in the FA Cup against Arsenal. His form had been poor and he was increasingly becoming a target for fans' ire at Old Trafford. This goal changed all that. As with many of the goals on this list, a loose pass, this time from Antonio Conte, gives Giggs — seemingly always in the right place at the right time — possession. Unusually, after going on a diagonal run towards the right of Juventus's area, he does not change direction. Instead he simply places the ball clinically past Gianluigi Buffon with his right foot, just to show it is not always for standing on.

9) Manchester United 1-2 Chelsea, 26 January 2005

If Giggs was all about explosive solo runs in his early days. United are trailing to Frank Lampard's first-half goal when Gary Neville spots a run from Giggs down the inside-right channel. Neville lofts the ball towards him and Giggs, having noted Petr Cech edge of his line and without a preliminary touch, gloriously and acrobatically lobs the goalkeeper with the outside of his left boot.

10) Tottenham 1-3 Manchester United 12 September 2009

Until David Beckham turned up, Giggs was United's first-choice free-kick taker. When Beckham left in 2003, it was assumed he would regain responsibility. And then Cristiano Ronaldo turned up. In 2009 Giggs reminded us of his deadliness with the dead ball at White Hart Lane. From a central position 25 yards from goal Giggs's free-kick is perfect, curling beautifully into the top right corner of Carlo Cudicini's goal.

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