Ryan Giggs has been a familiar face on the back pages of Britain’s newspapers.
However, his arrest on suspicion of assaulting a woman has made him front page news.
Although a statement released on behalf of Giggs said he denied “all allegations of assault made against him” he will not be involved in Wales’ upcoming international camp.
A prodigious and precocious talent as a player, the former Manchester United and Wales winger boasts a medal collection which bears comparison with those of football’s greats, and the knowledge and expertise he gleaned during a glittering career has seen him guide his native country to the delayed Euro 2020 finals since his move into coaching.
For almost three decades, the 46-year-old Welshman has been a poster boy for the game in which he has made his name, the benchmark to which others aspire after rising from a difficult childhood to secure a place in the Old Trafford pantheon and a reputation which stretches far further.
Born Ryan Wilson in Cardiff in November 1973, he moved to Salford as a seven-year-old when his father Danny Wilson headed north to pursue a career in professional rugby league, adopting his mother’s maiden name, Giggs, after his parents split up.
If life was testing, football was his escape and having demonstrated his abundant potential as a schoolboy, he was snapped up by United from under the noses of derby rivals Manchester City on his 14th birthday.
Impressed by Giggs’ pace and dribbling ability, Sir Alex Ferguson thrust him into the limelight as a 17-year-old, and while putting a protective arm around his prodigy, expertly nurtured his budding talent.
Ferguson once said: “When Ryan runs at players he gives them twisted blood. They don’t want to be a defender any more.”
Swiftly labelled “the new George Best”, a tag which never seemed to weigh him down, the midfielder took to senior football well with Ferguson all the while ensuring his feet were never allowed to leave the ground.
🔙 in 1️⃣9️⃣9️⃣9️⃣
🔥 An iconic extra time wonder goal from Ryan Giggs saw @ManUtd reach the final!
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) March 31, 2019
He won his first silverware as a member of the side that beat Nottingham Forest in the 1992 League Cup final but, perhaps as significantly, he was also in the United team that won the FA Youth Cup that year.
The core of that side – the fabled ‘Class of 92’, which comprised Giggs, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt – went on to provide the nucleus of the first team that swept all before them.
Giggs constantly adapted his game to the challenges which came his way and as age started to take its toll, he transformed himself from a flying winger with a knack of scoring spectacular goals into a more intuitive midfielder, a process which did little to blunt his influence.
When he finally hung up his boots at the age of 40 in 2014, he had made 963 appearances for United and won 34 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues, and scored 168 goals.
On the international front, he earned 64 caps for Wales between 1991 and 2007, but never played at a major tournament.
Having worked as player-coach under Ferguson’s successor David Moyes, Giggs briefly took charge of the first team following the Scot’s dismissal in April 2014, and was subsequently retained as assistant to Louis van Gaal on his appointment.
Tainted by association with the Dutchman’s ill-fated spell at the helm, his near 30-year stay on the red half of Manchester drew to a close in 2016, only for a dream job to come his way in January 2018 when he was appointed Wales boss.
The national team, which made it to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, but failed to qualify for the World Cup two years later, has prospered under his charge with a new generation of players emerging to ensure a return to the European stage.