Giggs offers defence of elite wages

But United star says players must give back by lending support to charity projects

Ryan Giggs believes the majority of top-flight players deserve their massive wages. Such has been the explosion of cash into the Premier League over the past few years, that salaries in excess of £100,000 a week, if not exactly commonplace, are hardly unknown.

It is a far cry from the sums on offer when Giggs began his professional career at Manchester United nearly two decades ago, with many critics arguing the inflation has happened so quickly that there is now no connection at all between supporters and the men they support.

Yet Giggs, like long-time team-mate Gary Neville, does not feel the cash is excessive, given the contracts being paid to televise the Premier League, which bring in well over £1.5bn.

"There is plenty of money in the game but the majority of the players deserve it," Giggs told ITV's News at Ten. "There are a number of players that perhaps 20 years ago would not have got paid the money that they're getting now but that is the way that football is.

"The average player is getting a lot of money – if that is right, I don't know. But good luck to them – the money is in the game, why not earn it while they have got the chance? But 20 years ago that wouldn't have happened. Then it was probably only the top, top players, the elite players who would be earning good money."

It just emphasises the massive changes that have taken place during Giggs' stellar career, which has brought him 11 Premier League titles and two Champions League trophies.

"The game has gone massive," he said. "Footballers make the front pages and the back pages – it is big news, they are like pop stars. A lot of things are for the good. The fitness of players is better than it has ever been. The Premier League is the best league in the world."

Giggs is also keenly aware the profile of top football players allows them to make more significant contributions to wider-scale campaigns. That is why he has been spending time in Sierra Leone on a Unicef project aimed at tackling the spread of HIV in the region.

And Giggs realises, compared to the struggles faced by so many children in the war-ravaged African country, week-to-week combat in the Premier League is easy. "You see what true bravery is," he said. "You hear all the time that a footballer is brave going into a tackle. That's not bravery.

"What I've seen – a 21-year-old lad who was telling me that he is positive for HIV and what he wants to do about it, that he wants to educate other people, that he wants to help stop it happening – that is bravery."

Sport
Romelu Lukaku
sportChelsea striker sends second teasing tweet of the day
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Sport
Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura sprays a line after calling for a free kick for Brazil
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz