Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Giggs retires from international football

Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs is set to announce his retirement from international football, 16 years after winning his first cap for Wales.

The 32-year-old, whose United contract expires next summer, is calling time on his Wales career to focus on what could be his final season at Old Trafford.

Today's anticipated decision means Giggs will win his 64th and final cap for the Dragons this Saturday against the Czech Republic in Cardiff.

He will join a host of Welsh stars over the last four decades who have failed to appear in a major international tournament, with the principality making their sole appearance at a World Cup or European Championship in Sweden in 1958.

Giggs was made skipper of the national team by John Toshack in 2004 as a host of senior players including Gary Speed announced their retirement from the international scene following a heartbreaking play-off defeat to Russia.

It is thought the midfielder was still holding out hope for next year's European Championship in Austria and Switzerland being his international swansong, but Wales are fifth in group D with six points from five games and have virtually no chance of qualifying.

The winger's decision will also have been influenced by club team-mate Paul Scholes, whose United career has flourished since announcing his England retirement after Euro 2004.

Giggs is 43 games short of Bobby Charlton's all-time Old Trafford record of 759 games, but may only have a season to match the United legend's total.

Last season he picked an unprecedented ninth Premiership winners medal as the Red Devils won their first league title for three years.

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