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Man Utd legend Ryan Giggs really didn’t like Arsenal... or many of their players

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 24/3/2019 JOE KRISHNAN
a group of young men playing a game of football © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has lifted the lid on their fierce rivalry with Arsenal, claiming he "didn't like" the club and a number of their star players.

Towards the end of the turn of the Millennium, it was Arsenal and Man Utd who had a two-way monopoly when it came to success at the top of the English game.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side won four Premier League titles between 1998 and 2003, while Arsenal triumphed on two occasions under Arsene Wenger in 1997-98 and 2001-02.

It was the Welshman who was instrumental in United's treble-winning season in 1998-99, famously scoring a sensational solo goal in the FA Cup semi-final against the Gunners as they went on to lift the trophy.

And the 45-year-old, now in charge of the Wales national team, said he wasn't a fan of the north London side or a number of their star names.

Phil Neville et al. watching a football game: Man Utd's Giggs and Lauren of Arsenal come to blows Photo: Getty Images/Manchester United FC © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Man Utd's Giggs and Lauren of Arsenal come to blows Photo: Getty Images/Manchester United FC

"I didn’t like Arsenal," Giggs told the Daily Mail. "I didn’t like [Patrick] Vieira because he was dirty and got away with murder. I didn’t like [Emmanuel] Petit because he had long hair. I didn’t like Bergkamp.

"I didn’t like [Robert] Pires even though when you meet him now he’s actually dead nice. I wouldn’t even look at them, didn’t know them and didn’t want to. I wouldn’t allow myself to rate any of them.

Asked to elaborate on his reasons for disliking Dennis Bergkamp, Giggs believed the Dutchman "wasn’t as good as Eric Cantona."

Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney standing next to a football ball: But the rivalry wasn't always of a bitter nature Photo: Getty Images/Manchester United FC © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited But the rivalry wasn't always of a bitter nature Photo: Getty Images/Manchester United FC

Despite his contempt for some of Arsenal's renowned stars, Giggs admits he knew Arsenal were a force to be reckoned with and drummed up a distaste for his rivals to gain the upper hand psychologically.

"I wasn’t really that kind of person. It wasn’t really me," he added.

"But you had to get that in your head, that intense dislike. It was pure motivation.

"But deep down we knew. They were top drawer and that rivalry was everything to us. Deeper even than Liverpool at that time."

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