Ryan Giggs' Top 10 Greatest Goals Part One (1991-2002)
During his career of unprecedented success spanning 22 years, Giggs has scored 181 goals in those 1,000 appearances: 168 for Manchester United, 12 for Wales and one for Great Britain.
Which of these goals will make it in to Giggs' top 10 greatest of all time?
Manchester United 3 Blackburn Rovers 1, Premier League, May 1993
On the day Manchester United were crowned champions of England for the first time in 26 years and lifted the Premier League trophy at an emotional Old Trafford, Ryan Giggs contributed a spectacular free kick to a 3-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.
“I had only scored once before from a free-kick, in the Cup against Brighton, but I stepped up to take it,” Giggs has said. “I didn’t think I would score as I was so far out. I didn’t know I could kick it that far, but I struck it into the top left corner of the goal with my left foot. The ball curled around the wall, but it went in more because of the power I got in the shot.”
Queens Park Rangers 2 Manchester United 3, Premier League, February 1994
This goal showcased the young Ryan Giggs at his best; quick, skillful and utterly fearless, he picks up the ball in the middle of the QPR half and sets off for goal, beating four players with his quick feet and balance before powering a shot past the QPR keeper Jan Stejsdal.
“This was probably the best goal I had scored at that point,” he has said. “I remember nicking the ball off Ray Wilkins, then a couple of their defenders dived in at me, but I managed to skip past them and keep heading towards goal.
"I could sense that I might get a clear shot at goal and so it proved when I got just inside the area and drilled a shot past their keeper. I didn’t realise what a good goal it was under I saw replays of it on Match of the Day.”
Manchester United 4 FC Porto 0, Champions League, March 1997
Ryan Giggs believes this is his greatest ever performance, and it includes one of his best goals as well.
In the first leg of Manchester United’s first European Cup quarter-final since 1969 Giggs was almost unplayable as he brushed aside the Portuguese champions Porto 4-0.
“We started off brilliantly with David May and Eric Cantona giving us a 2-0 lead at half-time,” Giggs has recalled.
“Then I got our third to finish off a great end-to-end move. Eric played a wonderful pass along the line with the outside of his foot, Andy Cole ran into the path of the ball and then waited until I was next to him to pass it to me. I was in the penalty area and put my head down and blasted it between the goalkeeper and the post.”
Manchester United 3 Juventus 2, Champions League, October 1997
In the previous season Manchester United had twice been outplayed and beaten by the Italian champions Juventus.
“When we got drawn against them again the following season we were determined to show an improvement and demonstrate that we could compete with the best teams in Europe.”
United did that by going in to a 2-1 lead with only minutes remaining before Giggs confirmed the win with a spectacular third goal.
“I started a run down the left flank,” Giggs has recalled. “Teddy Sheringham played a great pass into my path which meant I didn’t have to break stride. I went past a defender and then struck a powerful shot past Angelo Peruzzi in the Juventus goal and into the top corner. I really enjoyed that goal.”
Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1, FA Cup, April 1999
Unsurpisingly, Ryan Giggs rates this goal against Arsenal in an FA Cup semi-final replay as the best he has ever scored.
When he received a stray pass from Patrick Vieira, the score was 1-1 in the second half of extra time at Villa Park, and down to 10 men after Roy Keane’s sending off, an exhausted United were hanging on for penalties.
“When I got the ball I didn’t realise I was in my own half," Giggs has said. "At the time, I thought I was about 35 yards out. It was all instinct. There was no one in front of me, so I just put my head down and went towards goal. There was no way I was going to pass it.”
“I skipped past a challenge from Vieira, then Dixon and Vieira again. I was then in between Dixon and Keown, who didn’t want to tackle me as I was near the area. I got past them to give me a shot at David Seaman, and I thought of just hitting it as hard as I could.”
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.