Giggs extends Manchester United contract on 999 appearances

Ryan Giggs has signed a one year contract extension for Manchester United keeping him at the club into his forties.  The thirty-nine year old is the most decorated player in English football, as he has won a total of 22 trophies with United.  He has made 999 senior appearances for club and country, and is set to earn his 1,000th on Saturday when United play Norwich City at Old Trafford.  The midfielder has made 931 appearances for United, 64 for Wales, and four for Great Britain.  He made his senior debut twenty-three years ago on March 2, 1991 against Everton at Old Trafford, and is the only player to score in every EPL season.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed his excitement about Giggs new contract, which will end in June 2014.   “What can I say about Ryan that hasn’t already been said? He is a marvelous player and an exceptional human being,” Ferguson said. “Ryan is an example to us all, the way in which he has, and continues to, look after himself. He has fantastic energy for the game and it is wonderful to see.

“Ryan seems to reach a new milestone every week and to think that he now has 23 unbroken years of league goals behind him is truly amazing in the modern-day game. His form this year shows his ability and his enjoyment of the game are as strong as ever and I am absolutely delighted that he has signed a new contract.”

Giggs has also expressed his joy at still playing for United, and will play into his forties with the new deal.  “I am feeling good, enjoying my football more than ever and, most importantly, I feel I am making a contribution to the team,” Giggs said. “This is an exciting team to be part of, with great team spirit, and we are again pushing for trophies as we head towards the business end of the season.”

Once the contract ends in 2014, Ferguson has said that Giggs and other United veteran Paul Scholes will join the coaching staff for United, much like other United player, right-back Gary Neville who joined the England coaching staff when he retired in 2011.   “That will happen,” Ferguson said. “We’ve done the same with Nicky Butt and Scholes will do exactly the same when he finishes.”

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Benitez comments hint Chelsea exit

Chelsea manager, Rafa Benitez, has hinted that he will leave the London based club when his current contract ends this summer.  The Spaniard was appointed Chelsea manager back in November, despite being unpopular with the Chelsea fans because of his success at Liverpool.  He almost won over the Chelsea fans minds when he won seven out of eight games in December, but once they lost 1-0 to the last place Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League, the fans returned to protesting against his appointment.

He recently denied reports that he had lost control in the Chelsea dressing room after their 2-0 loss to Manchester City, but acknowledged that there was an “exchange of opinions”.

“You know, more or less, how things go (at Chelsea) in terms of what happens if you lose or win,” Benitez stated ahead of their FA Cup match against Middlesbrough. “I have a job to do and the players are clever enough and realize they will be here next season with long contracts.”

“I will be working hard until the end. We have to try to beat Middlesbrough and then move on. My job is to concentrate on the next game, not the speculation.”

“I accept we have had some games where we had to do better.  At Manchester City, we still had a penalty and two counter-attacks when we could have scored and made the difference, but we didn’t play at the level we could play and that is my concern.

“I think we have had a lot of games we could have won, two or three easily. Reading, where after 93 and a half minutes towards winning and we lost two points. We conceded two at Newcastle when we were ahead. You have to win those games.

“It’s not a question of character. It’s a question of mistakes, of attention, of a lack of concentration, but we fight till the end. Don’t forget, this team finished sixth last year, we have to fight now for the top three.

“I can guarantee the players know what we’re trying to do and believe in it 100%. I am here to be in the top three, and do my best in every competition. After that, we will see.”

Benitez has also hinted that he would like to move to Real Madrid when he leaves Chelsea, describing the Spanish club as his “sweetheart”.  Chelsea are currently sitting in fourth place in the English Premier League, but got knocked out of the Champions League and Capital One Cup.

Santos on loan to Gremio

Arsenal defender Andre Santos is going on a year loan to Brazilian club Gremio. Although the deal is not finalized, Santos suggested that the deal is almost complete, and that he will love to move there. The twenty-nine year old left-back has struggled to break into the Arsenal squad since his transfer from Fenerbahce in August 2011, and was recently replaced by Nacho Monreal.