Welcome to our series which looks at a star of yesterday compared to a star of today and makes the all-important judgement as to who is the greatest. Up this week is Manchester United legend George Best taking on the Red Devils’ Welsh wonder, Ryan Giggs.
Each week we will judge the players against the same five criteria and the contest will be scored as in a boxing contest, with 10 for the winner in each section and 9 for the other, unless there is an obviously large discrepancy when 8 will be scored.
This week see’s the legend that is George Best…
Take on current Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs…
Skills : While Giggs has wonderful ability on the ball, Best was one of the greatest of all time with the ball at his feet. The word genius is bandied about today far too liberally at times, but as brilliant as Giggs is on the ball and it does him huge credit to be mentioned even in the same breath as Best, he just wasn’t a genius. George Best was. So as great as Giggs is, Best wins takes the opening round. BEST 10, GIGGS 9
Loyalty : While George Best’s name is synonymous with Manchester United, it is worth remembering that he left the club aged 27 after 470 appearances and 179 goals, going on to play for a succession of lesser lights across in America as well as in England and Scotland. Giggs is, for many, the embodiment of the golden era of Manchester United, there from the start and a vital part of that success ever since. 815 appearances, 150 goals and counting. Giggs is the winner here, hands down. BEST 9, GIGGS 10
Achievement : Best’s achievements as a player are in stark contrast to his ability. Two league titles and a European Cup winners medal are stark reward for a player of his ability although he did achieve a notable double of Football Writers and European Footballer of the Year in 1968. Giggs however trumps Best once again with an incredible list of achievements; 11 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 7 Charity Shields, 2 Champions League victories, PFA Young player of the year twice and current PFA player of the year. It’s another hands down victory for Giggs. BEST 9, GIGGS 10
Adoration: To say Manchester United fans are fortunate to have had two players of this quality to watch over the years is an understatement. Giggs is revered by the Old Trafford faithful, the embodiment of a successful one club man blessed with ability and skills befitting the worlds biggest club. However even that isn’t enough to get him ahead in this round. George Best, along with Denis Law and Bobby Charlton, formed the holy trinity for United. His tragic death in 2005 only made him more revered. There is a saying in Northern Ireland that sums up how many feel about their Belfast Boy. “Maradona Good, Pele Better, George Best”. That says it all really. BEST 10, GIGGS 9
Summary in a clip : There is so much to choose from for both players and to pick one moment of brilliance from each of them is difficult. However Ryan Giggs wonderful effort in the FA Cup Semi Final against Arsenal leaps to mind, a goal that Best himself would have been proud of
For Best, while there are many moments in a United shirt that I could have picked it is this truly amazing goal for San Jose Earthquakes against Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the old NASL that perhaps shows what Best was truly capable of
A difficult, difficult choice and how can you separate them? BEST 10, GIGGS 10
Who is the Greatest?
A quick add up reveals Ryan Giggs 48, George Best 48 : A tie! These two legends cannot be separated in my view. The passage of time has given Best the aura of legend that perhaps overrides his weaknesses. In 30 years time, it may well be the case that Giggs achievements may be viewed as the greater, but for the time being at least I cannot separate them. Two wonderful players and truly deserving of the accolade of The Greatest.
But what do you think? Make your case for Best or Giggs below… we’d love to hear from you!
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