We need to talk about Ryan Giggs’ great forgotten goal for Manchester United
We all know The Ryan Giggs Goal™.
Whether you love or loathe Manchester United, you can picture it now: Patrick Vieira’s wayward pass, Giggs intercepting in his own half, Giggs leaving a trail of defenders in his wake with twisted blood, Giggs slamming the ball into the roof of the net, Giggs whipping his shirt off to reveal all that chest hair.
“That was Ryan Giggs; that was what Ryan Giggs was all about; this was Giggs’ moment,” remain the wisest words of Phil Neville’s career.
It’s understandable that will always be the moment Giggs is most associated with as a Manchester United player, but it is perhaps unfair other moments of genius will be forever left in its shadow.
Scoring United’s only goal in a League Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea in 2005 is hardly comparable to scoring the decisive goal in one of the most iconic FA Cup ties in one of the most iconic seasons of the modern era, but…well, just look at this goal FFS.
The deft one-touch lob is almost identical to Alessandro Del Piero’s famous goal for Juventus against Fiorentina in 1994.
Del Piero’s volley was dubbed ‘the impossible goal’ and later voted the greatest goal in Juve’s history.
⚽ @delpieroale's wonder strike vs Fiorentina was your 🔝 Juventus goal of all time 🏳🏴
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) November 14, 2017
Giggs’ effort against Chelsea, meanwhile, barely received any recognition at the time, let alone now the intervening years and ultimate result of the game have reduced it to only a vague memory.
“A battling United were then rewarded for their persistence when Giggs chipped over Cech from Neville’s defence-splitting ball,” was the verdict in BBC’s match report.
The Guardian were a little more enthusiastic, albeit while still being more enamoured by the freshness of Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge of Chelsea, noting: “It was a wonderful goal but the individual brilliance had been provoked by desperation.”
There is undoubtedly an element of desperation within the goal, but it is to be found in Petr Cech’s futile attempts to prevent himself being lobbed while inside his own six-yard box rather than the moment of inspiration from Giggs.
Game at least recognises game, with Del Piero once saying of Giggs: “Only two players made me cry when watching football, one was Diego Maradona and the other Ryan Giggs.”
Having provided countless moments of inspiration in a Manchester United shirt, it’s only natural some pieces of Giggs magic will always be remembered more fondly than others.
But that doesn’t mean we should forget the rest.