Wales manager and former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs has been awarded an accolade by Spanish club Athletic Bilbao, which in 2019 was awarded to Celtic legend Billy McNeil. The One Club Man honour for 2020 was awarded to Giggs, who signed for United at the age of 14 in 1987, turning pro at the club at the age of 17 in 1990.
Giggs then made his first team debut in March 1991, playing a total of 963 times for the club, over 24 years which has seen him become the most decorated player in English football. Giggs will share the label, One Club Man with many footballing greats including; Paolo Maldini, Francesco Totti, and current Athletic Bilbao player, Iker Muniain.
During his time at United, Giggs has won many things including 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, nine FA Community Shields, two UEFA Champions League titles, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, and one FIFA Club World Cup. He was also named the PFA Young Player of the Year twice; in 1991/92 and 1992/93.
The Bilbao club says it gave the annual accolade to Giggs for his fantastic professional career with Manchester United which lasted 24 years. Back in March 2012 when Giggs played against Athletic Bilbao in the UEFA Europa League, which saw United exit the competition after 5-3 aggregate loss, the club’s fans gave the player a standing ovation.
“We speak of a world class footballer who has demonstrated an unwavering loyalty to their club.”
During his career as a player at United, he was made the interim manager after the sacking of David Moyes during the 2013/14 season, where he took charge of the final four matches of the season, a season which United finished seventh in the Premier League. After playing his last match in the 2013/14 season, Giggs was the assistant manager under Louis van Gaal until he was sacked at the end of the 2015/16 season.
The Bilbao club has stated that Giggs, 46 has accepted an invitation to receive the award at the San Mames stadium once travel restrictions are out of the way following the coronavirus pandemic which suspended world football in mid-March. It will be another proud honour for Giggs, along with all the other he has received over the years.
During his time at United, playing 963 times for the Old Trafford club, which includes 672 league appearances, 74 FA Cup appearances, 41 League Cup appearances, and 157 European appearances, plus 19 appearances in other competitions, scoring 168 goals for the club and 248 assists, which is some achievement.
Giggs has played football with many club legends from Steve Bruce, Bryan Robson, Gary Pallister, Peter Schmeichel, Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Cristiano Ronaldo and current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Currently, Giggs is the manager of the Wales national team, succeeding Chris Coleman on the 15 January 2018. As a player, Giggs was capped 64 times by Wales, scoring 12 goals, also being capped four times, scoring once for Team GB at the 2012 Olympics in London. He’s managed 19 matches for Wales, winning nine, drawing three and losing seven.