Ryan Giggs has played in the Premier League since it was created and holds the record for most appearances in it – a record that will take a lot of hard work, dedication and loyalty to ever be matched.
During his career at Manchester United he has broken Bobby Charlton’s appearance record and currently stands with 945 club appearances under his belt – and would anyone really want to doubt him reaching that 1000th game mark?
In his time at United he has featured alongside some of the best players the world has ever seen: Peter Schmeichel, Ramond Edwin Der Sar, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo and most recently Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie. If you were ever to build a greatest Manchester United 11, I’m sure a lot of the names mentioned there would be second picks only after Ryan Giggs’ name.
But while United’s biggest legend has played with some of the most renowned names in world football, he has also played with some players whose names will by synonymous only with worlds like ‘failures’.
Here’s a list of Ryan Gigg’s worst XI:
Feel free to comment with anyone you feel I may have left out.
Massimo Tiabi: Goalkeeper
In 1999 Sir Alex Ferguson paid £4.5 million for the Italian stopper in a deal that worked out just over £1 million per game.
It was never going to be an easy job trying to replace a United legend like Peter Schmeichel, but perhaps Tiabi made it look even harder than it should have been. After a serious of horrific performs and blunders which included flapping at free-kick and letting Sami Hyypia score from it, conceding 5 goals away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge;,and letting Matt Le Tessier weak shot trickle through his legs – he would later blame this on the spikes – it was clear to all that the Italian really hadn’t done the job at Old Trafford.
William Prunier: Defender
The Frenchman was brought in from Auxerre in 1995 during a spell that he and United fans won’t recall fondly.
Ferguson wanted to bring him in to play him during reserve games only during his trial, but his arrival coincided with injuries to Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and David May. His debut alongside Gary Neville in defence against QPR went reasonably well, but further injuries struck Dennis Irwin and Peter Schmeichel, which weakened the defence further. United lost their next game conceding four goals against Tottenham in a disastrous performance by the side and Prunier had to bare the brunt of the slack from United fans.
Nevertheless Fergie saw something in him and offered him an extended trial, but Prunier cut his losses and looked elsewhere for first team football, much to the glee of United fans.
Pat McGribbon: Defender
The young Northern Irishman was touted to be a star in the United youth set up when they brought him over to England, but that prophecy never came into action.
McGribbon was given just one run out in a United shirt in what seemed like a straight forward League Cup game against Hull. The match ended 3-0 in Hull’s favour and young McGribbon was sent off.
Although being named in United’s sub bench for a few games, he was never to be seen playing in the red of Manchester United again.
Phil Bardsley: Defender
Bardsley was again part of the Manchester United youth set up that have been known to produce some of the best homegrown players.
Although he didn’t make have any horror performances during the limited chances he had when playing for United, his performances lacked that class and quality that Sir Alex expected when he fielded a young player.
He was loaned out five times during his five years at United, which clearly showed he didn’t have much hope of making the grade.
Luke Chadwick: Midfielder
Surely when you are coming through the ranks at United you look at players like Giggs, Scholes, Neville and expect your career to turn out as theirs did.
Unfortunately for Luke Chadwick his didn’t go to plan. The majority of the former England Under 21 international’s appearances came in League Cup or early round FA Cup games. However, in the 2000/2001 season the young Chadwick managed to make 16 appearances, granting him the honour of picking up a Premier League medal at the end of the season. After a couple of loan spells, Chadwick called it quits and moved to West Ham in 2004.
Currently he is playing for MK Dons. The harshest reality of all is that this man has a Premier League title and Steven Gerrard doesn’t.
Eric Djemba Djemba: Midfieler
When the Cameroonian international arrived at Old Trafford in 2003 very few people knew who he was.
When he left in January 2005 he left being known as one of the worst signings Sir Alex has ever made. He was signed as a possible successor to United captain Roy Keane, and on his debut against Arsenal in the Community Shield he made it quite clear where they had drawn the parallels when he hit Arsenal’s defender Sol Campbell with a tackle Arsene Wenger later called “obscene”.
He made only 20 league appearances in his 18 months at Manchester United before moving to Aston Villa where, again, he failed to impress.
He is currently playing for Serbian side Partizan.
When Djemba Djemba is mentioned it usually isn’t long before someone mentions this man’s name too as their failures seem to fall in tandem with each other.
Unlike Djemba Djemba, Kleberson had been known to football after his impressive displays during Brazil’s World Cup win in 2002. Big Phil Scolari, Brazil coach at the time, called him the “driving force” behind his side’s Worlc Cup victory.
After interest from the likes of Barcelona, Newcastle and Leeds, Kleberson came to Old Trafford spending two unfulfilling seasons in the Premier League where he only picked up 20 appearances and only scored 2 goals.
His inability to live up to the declarations of Big Phil was the driving force behind Kleberson being offloaded to Besiktas.
Juan Sebastian Veron: Midfielder
When Veron moved from Lazio to Manchester in 2001 for a fee of £28.1 million he became the most expensive footballer in Premier League history at the time – a price tag he unfortunately failed to live up to.
There was no doubting Veron’s ability as a player, but the speed and style of the Premier League didn’t allow him as much time or space on the ball as he was used to during his time in Italy. During his second season he did improve and even scored four goals in Europe for United; he seemed to have better time playing against European opposition than he did in the Premier League.
Despite slowly progressing, Sir Alex allowed him to speak to the now moneybags Chelsea, and eventually a £15 million deal was agreed.
Veron didn’t impress in London either and later moved back to Italy to find himself again.
David Bellion: Forward
The Frenchman’s arrival at Old Trafford was one of controversy with Sir Alex allegedly tapping the player up while he was still under contract at Sunderland.
A £2 million out of court deal was agreed between the two clubs over Bellion, but in the end it was United who lost out – and probably wish they hadn’t bothered with the whole ordeal. During his time at Old Trafford he only scored 4 goals in 24 appearances before a loan spell to West Ham where he didn’t score in the 8 appearances they gave him. Later he was sold to Nice before making the move permanent.
Upon signing for Nice he said he had no hard feelings towards Manchester United and that he had found his time in England “frustrating” – a feeling that I’m sure United fans felt about him too.
Gabriel Obertain: Forward
Again, like Bellion, Obertan was another Frenchman who failed to rise to the occasion when he made his move to Manchester United.
Obertan was signed in 2009 for an undisclosed deal that was rumoured to be around £3 million after he has impressed during his time with Bordeaux. His chances at United were limited with Nani being ahead of him in the ranks, but even when he did get a chance he didn’t show any signs of being the player that they had scouted in France.
In 2009 Newcastle came in with £3 million and took the winger further up north, but even there he has failed to impress having only been used sparingly by Alan Pardew.
Diego Forlan: Forward
It feels strange putting a player who has proven him on so many platforms to be one of the greatest strikers of the 2000-2010 era on a worst XI list, but it has to be done in this case.
Sir Alex brought Forlan to England in January 2002 for £7 million from Independiente, and you can’t call it a “bad” signing as such, because as we’ve seen from his career after United he is a world class striker. But unfortunately for Manchester United and Forlan his calling wasn’t to be in England.
During his time at United he only scored 17 goals in 98 appearances for the Red Devils, but United fans still remember him fondly for the brace he scored at Anfield to guide United to a 2-1 win over their bitter rivals Liverpool.
After three seasons with the club he moved on to Villarreal and later Atletico Madrid in La Liga where he would go on to be a phenomenon and winning the Pichichi Trophy for top goalscorer in Spain twice. He also went on to be voted the best player at the 2010 World Cup where his Uruguay side reached the semi finals.
Diego Forlan is the prime example that some players can hack the Premier League, and some just can’t.
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