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Profile: Ryan Giggs the role model

  • Story Highlights
  • Ryan Giggs is most decorated player in Manchester United's history
  • Welshman has passed Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances
  • Giggs has been capped 64 times for Wales
Ben Wyatt
CNN Sport Producer
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Manchester United's Ryan Giggs has added the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year award to his collection of achievements after 18 seasons in England's top division.

Ryan Giggs in full flight for Manchester United in his 19th season at the Premier League club

The Welshman, twice named PFA Young Player of the Year, was delighted to win the gong he described as the "big one" after being voted this year's best by fellow professional footballers based in England and Wales.

Though he won over the support of his peers, critics of the selection cite the fact the 35-year-old has played most of his games from the bench for his team this campaign, but there are few in football who have won as much or played to such consistently high standards over the duration of their career.

It says something of the stature of Giggs that he passed Bobby Charlton's record of 758 appearances playing in 2008's European Cup final against Chelsea in Moscow.

The match secured United's third European Cup and Giggs's second, adding another winners' medal to a personal haul that ranks him as the most decorated player in the team's history.

The Cardiff-born midfielder turned professional in 1990 and, ever since his debut at Old Trafford a year later, has been a central figure in countless triumphs for one of the biggest clubs in world football.

What has been remarkable in more recent times is the adaptability Giggs has displayed to maintain his place in such a competitive team.

Though he made his name as a flying left winger, Giggs has proved adept in the center of midfield and as a forward, proving his creativity and intelligence are as important to win matches now as his pace used to be on the flanks.

Two Champions League trophies, 10 League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, six Community Shields, one UEFA Super Cup and an Intercontinental Cup is a CV that competes with the best in the world game and could yet be added to by the evergreen star.

Alex Ferguson's side are on track to defend their Champion League title with a semifinal clash against Arsenal and are favorites to win their third Premier League crown in as many years if they maintain their good form.

Club football aside, Giggs has been capped 64 times for Wales but has never appeared in a major tournament for his nation. Though opinions vary on the selection of Giggs for the award, if nothing else, the prize demonstrates the respect in which fellow footballers hold the talent of the "Welsh Wizard."

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