Over a 24-year, wildly profitable profession at Manchester United Ryan Giggs faced lots of the finest defenders ever to play the sport, however he has picked out Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti as his toughest opponent ever.
Of all the defenders he tried to beat over his time in a Red Devils shirt, he discovered the Argentine the sternest proposition, praising Zanetti as matching his skills with toughness.
‘The hardest player I’ve performed in opposition to was Zanetti for Inter Milan,’ Giggs informed the MUTV Group Chat.
‘Just run all day. He used to play in midfield so he was comfy on the ball.
‘He may defend, he was powerful, he truly broke my nostril in the quarter finals.
Zanetti had all the pieces as a defender.’
The second Giggs is referring to was in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final in 1999, as United beat Inter 2-Zero at Old Trafford thanks to 2 targets from Dwight Yorke,
Writing about the match in his autobiography in 2005, the Welshman remembered: ‘On a personal note, my enjoyment was marred when Javier Zanetti broke my nose with an elbow – something AC Milan also did to me in March 2005. Nice people, the Milanese. And people talk about me going to play over there!’
Giggs had been linked with a transfer to Inter Milan in the previous, which by no means received off the floor.
United would defend their lead in the second leg, securing a 1-1 attract Milan en path to successful the Champions League that season.
Giggs and Zanetti, remarkably, can be on reverse sides once more 10 years later when United and Inter met in the final 16 of the Champions League, with the Red Devils once more drawing in Italy and successful 2-Zero in England.
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