Giggs' golden ambitions

As Ryan Giggs prepares to lead Team GB at the Olympics, he claims a gold medal would be comparable to his UEFA Champions League wins.

The Manchester United midfielder has a vast collection of honours including 12 Premier League titles and two Champions League medals.

But the 38-year-old has never played in a major international finals with Wales and is relishing the thought of leading out Team GB against Senegal at his beloved Old Trafford on Thursday.

"As a footballer, you don't start out in your career hoping to win the Olympics. You want to win leagues, FA Cups and European Cups," said Giggs.

"I'm still disappointed I never got to a major finals with Wales, but we weren't good enough to get to a European Championships or World Cup.

"But to get the chance to play in a tournament at such a late stage of my career is one I'm excited about and really looking forward to.

"Of course, you want to win every game and win the tournament. We know it's going to be tough, but having seen the quality of our team over the last few weeks, we are hopeful of going a long way.

"An Olympic gold would be up there with my European medals.

"I don't like to prioritise any medal or trophy, as it's always a good feeling when you win. It's always a challenge, no matter what you win, and this is a big challenge.

"But it's going to be difficult. There's a lot of quality in the tournament, but there's quality in our dressing room as well."

Giggs also revealed he has the blessing of his Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson - a man who has not always been so keen to release the Welshman for international duty.

"Right from the start he was very supportive, which was great," added Giggs.

"I wanted to be a part of it and the manager wanted me to be a part of it."

Giggs is in the extraordinary position of being at least 14 years older than all but one of his team-mates and yet he is as wide-eyed as any of them to be part of the Olympic experience.

He said: "The onus is on me as captain and most experienced player to help the younger lads as well, something I'm at ease with as I've done that with United for years.

"I've enjoyed every bit of the preparation. All the lads have embraced it.

"Even the kitting out, which took two hours, the walk round the Olympic Village and seeing other athletes from other sports have been good experiences.

"That day we were chatting with the divers and swimmers - you get a chance to speak to other athletes who normally you would not get the chance to spend time with.

"Kelly Holmes gave us a welcome speech and she gave us a great insight as to what the Olympic experience is all about.

"We couldn't have had anyone better speaking to us. It's not something that will come around every year. But the bottom line is we are playing football matches.

"You want to win games and that's what we are trying to do."

  • Related keywords: Team GB, Olympic, Ryan Giggs