Posts Tagged Soccer

Left Side, Strong Side

There is always a cyclical nature in sports. We never thought we would see another Doctor J or Michael Jordon, but we could currently be watching the greatest player ever to play basketball. Everyone believed that Joe Montana’s retirement would leave a void in football, and in stepped Steve Young. We are currently undergoing a similar transition in the Barclays Premier league with Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale.

ryan_giggs-892Ryan Giggs, or the “Welsh Wizard,” has been an icon for more than 20 years in England’s Premier League. He’s on the eve of his 1000th match in his professional career and has only ever played for Manchester. His longevity speaks to his dedication and work ethic in keeping his body and mind in the right conditioning to play in the best soccer league in the world; his immense talent doesn’t hurt either. He has provided stability at left wing and has been one of the main ingredients to Manchester United’s 20 year dominance in domestic and European football.

Giggs has just signed on for one more year in Manchester, but he is reaching the end of his career and isn’t an every game player anymore. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has to use him in certain situations to ensure he stays healthy and effective throughout the grueling season. He has played a vital role this season providing leadership and expertise on and off the field. With Wayne Rooney struggling from the penalty spot this season, Giggs has stepped up and continued his streak of perfection from the spot in the Premier League.


While Giggs has slowly been fading, fellow Welshman Gareth Bale has come storming into the spotlight. The 23-year-old Bale joined the Tottenham Hotspurs in the 07-08 season from South Hampton. He famously turned down Gigg’s current club, Manchester United, with the fear of not getting any playing time. He went to the Spurs and after switching from left-back to left-wing, he hasn’t looked back.

Bale had many admirers but it wasn’t until he scored his Champions league hat-trick against Italian giants Inter Milan that he became a star. Since the, he has received international acclaim for his amazing ability on the field. His defense is lacking, and he has picked up some injuries in the past few years, but few are more lethal charging down the field than Bale. He doesn’t just score goals, his pinpoint crosses and incredible pace help set the table for his teammates to score on many different occasions.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Old Trafford

Bale has been in top form recently scoring 8 goals in 6 matches, the last being a magical blast from over 30 yards. He gives a lot of credit to his new manager André Villas-Boas for being more tactical and giving more direction compared to former manager Harry Redkapp. Much like Ryan Giggs, Bale has progressed under a strong manager whose ideology fits his own. His recent play has led many to compare him to arguably the world’s best player, Christiano Ronaldo. Both wingers use their incredible power and pace to cut defenses apart and both possess mesmerizing free kick ability. However, Bale has a long way to go before he is in the same class as the likes of Ronaldo and Messi. To be like them and Giggs, Bale needs to play at a top level on a consistent basis.
English soccer has been lucky to have had a talent like Ryan Giggs for this long and will hopefully be able to enjoy Bale for many years. However, if the rumors are true, Bale will join Ronaldo at Real Madrid in Spain, the BPL will miss out. But don’t worry, there will always be another one; as players come and go, the cyclical nature of sports will never change.


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