Giggs signs on for the Glazer era with two-year contract extension

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The Independent Football

Ryan Giggs and Tim Howard both signed contract extensions at Malcolm Glazer-controlled Manchester United yesterday.

With the turmoil over Glazer's takeover bid still reverberating, the decisions by Giggs and Howard to accept two-year extensions were welcome news.

While Howard will be just short of his 30th birthday when his new contract expires in 2009, Giggs' additional seasons - taking him up to 2008 - represent the fulfilment of a dream to spend his entire career at Old Trafford.

"Ryan has been a fantastic servant and it is comforting to know that he will be here for another three years, possibly ending his career at United," said Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager. "Ryan joined at 13 - to be at a club for 20 years is unique in this era."

Now 31, the Wales captain is already the most decorated player in United's history. He will become the first player to collect five FA Cup winners' medals for over a century should United beat Arsenal in the final on Saturday. Provided he avoids major injury, Giggs will also almost certainly threaten Sir Bobby Charlton's landmark 759 appearances in all competitions, having played his 634th game in the 2-1 win at Southampton on Sunday.

"I am quite confident I will finish my career at United," Giggs said. "I have been here since I was a young boy. I have always wanted to stay - there is nowhere else I would want to go."

Giggs' medal collection - comprising eight Premiership titles, four FA Cups, a League Cup, European Cup and a World Club Championship - is housed in United's museum.

After a period in the doldrums, which brought widespread calls for his departure just over two years ago, Giggs has responded to the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and at times this season has hit top form.

"In the run-up to Christmas I was playing as well as ever," he said. "I have never been one for using tricks like Cristiano. He has got every trick in the book and can make even the best defenders look stupid. I prefer to unbalance players and get round them that way.

"Whether I stay out wide I don't know. It is natural to lose speed as you get older. The key will be to keep a little burst of pace - I still feel comfortable on the wing."

The extension of Howard's contract justifies Ferguson's faith in the former Major League Soccer player, whowill probably start on the bench in the FA Cup final.

Real Madrid have issued a statement denying any intent to sign Rio Ferdinand, who will not sign a new deal with United before the FA Cup final: "Real Madrid have absolutely no interest in Rio Ferdinand or any other member of the squad coached by Alex Ferguson," the Spanish club said.

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