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Is It Time for Manchester United Legend Ryan Giggs to Retire?

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs.
Manchester United's Ryan Giggs.Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Mark FroggattFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2012

This season, following a couple of underwhelming performances, some Manchester United fans have unenthusiastically asked a simple question: Is it finally time for Ryan Giggs to retire? 

It is a query that comes with an element of guilt and dirt around Old Trafford, given what the Reds legend has achieved throughout his long and illustrious career under manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Giggs is, of course, the most decorated player in the club’s history.

He has made over 900 appearances whilst winning no less than 32 major trophies, including 12 Premier League titles, two UEFA Champions League triumphs, four FA Cups and one FIFA World Club Cup.

Incredibly, the Welshman made his first team debut back in March 1991 and has featured in every single Premier League season since. He has netted in every Champions League campaign since 1994 and gained the record for the competition’s oldest scorer at the age of 37 years and 148 days.

But with his 39th birthday approaching this Friday, should this legend and icon of football face up to Father Time and hang up his boots, simultaneously embracing the inevitable career in management that will follow?

The answer, quite simply, is unknown.

Who am I—or any other journalist, fan or armchair pundit—to pass judgement on Giggs’ career or the timing of his retirement?

Only Ryan can assess his own physical prowess and mental strength. Ultimately, knowing when to retire from professional football is a difficult task.

Just ask Paul Scholes. 

The "Ginger Genius" openly admits that he retired too soon in 2010, which prompted his sensational u-turn prior to last season’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium. This return led to a collection of fine performance towards the end of the 2010-11 season, before ultimately carrying on at United.  

Always observant of others, Giggs is wary of making the same mistake as his great friend. Last February, he explained why several of his teammates felt Scholes had made an error, telling The Sun:

“When to retire is difficult. Do you quit too early or go that one too many games and let people see you on the slide? Retirement is just a decision that I have to take my time with because I feel different after each game. Scholesy was missing it and it's no secret that myself, Gary Neville and a few other people felt that he had finished too early but who were we to know?”

As the famous saying goes, "form is temporary, but class is permanent."

Unfortunately, a lack of the former leads to questions which, ultimately, need answering. But any supporter who assumes this season is the end for Giggs is naive.

After all, this is a man who’s defied his critics for 20 plus years.

Of course, there is a strong chance that the Salfordian will call it a day after this campaign.

If the whispers around M16 are to be believed, a career in charge of the United Reserves, if not the first team, beckons.

But don’t be surprised if you see the name R. Giggs on a Reds team-sheet next season.

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