by T.A. ’13
Monday night concluded Act 1 of the biggest period in the English Premier League this season, with Manchester United defeating Arsenal FC 1-0. The game featured some of the biggest names in English football, including one infamous Wayne Rooney; however, perhaps less well known that day (although not to real soccer enthusiasts), was the evergreen midfielder Ryan Giggs.
In an age where the British tabloid media literally stalks players, looking for and often finding scandal, Ryan Giggs is a truly refreshing star. Giggs burst onto the scene in the early 1990s, when he helped Manchester United win the Premier League in 1992. Since then, he has played a crucial role in all eleven Premier League Championships, two Champions League trophies, and numerous other awards that United have garnered. More important than the accolades, however, is Giggs’ impeccable conduct on and off the pitch. In 64 games for his home country of Wales, Giggs has collected only two yellow cards, and one red, and has less than 40 yellow cards (and no reds) in 851 appearances for Manchester United: unbelievably low numbers for those acquainted with the dirty play of today. One can unquestionably say that on the pitch, he is a true gentleman.
His exemplary behavior extends to his life off the pitch as well; in an arena where players like Cristiano Ronaldo, aforementioned Wayne Rooney, and Frank Lampard have been under consistent criticism for pursuing sex in extramarital situations, the tabloid press gave up their attempts to pin something of that sort on Giggs back in the late nineties. While he and his now-wife did in fact have children before they were married, they have been happily married for over a decade, with no reason for fans to think that that will change anytime soon.
Giggsy, as United fans affectionately call him, has shunned the limelight since 1997 or so, and is well and truly a family man. Perhaps he hasn’t lived perfectly (who has?) but in comparison to stars like Brett Favre and Ben Roethlisberger (American football) and Kobe Bryant (basketball), Giggs is a tremendous role model for young people in how to conduct oneself in the public arena.