Although rugby is the most popular sport in Wales, football has also become increasingly important on the international scene over the years. In fact, Wales can boast of having produced some of the best players of the last generations; such soccer players can be considered real world superstars. Some of them contributed not only to their club teams but also to the Welsh national team, especially in the exploits at the 2016 European championships.
In this article we will consider three champions who have marked the history of Welsh and international football: Gary Speed, Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale. Check this guide for more info.
Gary Speed was born in Mancot on 8 September 1969. He was a great midfielder, especially wearing the jersey of Leeds (1988/1996) and Newcastle Utd (1998/2004), with more than 500 appearances in the English Premier League. Gary Speed, in addition to being one of the players with the most appearances in the Premier League, holds the caps record with the Welsh national football team (85) of which he was a fundamental pivot between 1990 and 2004.
Gary Speed was also manager of the Welsh national team in 2010/2011 and of Sheffield Utd in the Championship. The midfielder is certainly one of his fans’ favorite Welsh sports figures and his tragic death at the age of 42 was a real shock for the British football. With the National team he scored 7 goals in 85 caps, while playing with his clubs he scored 97 goals in the Premier League.
Playing for Leeds, Gary Speed won an English Premier League (1991/1992) and a Community Shield, also participating in several editions of the Champions League with Leeds and Newcastle Utd.
Ryan Giggs (Cardiff, 29 November 1973) is not only a Welsh legend, but more broadly an example for all British footballers. With his 37 career trophies he is the most successful British footballer ever (more details here). Giggs holds a number of truly phenomenal records: he is the player with the most appearances in Manchester Utd (963, 159 in UEFA competitions), he is the second football player with the most caps in the Premier League (632) and one of the few to have played more than 1000 professional matches, always at the highest level.
The Red Devils winger was certainly the most representative player for the Welsh national football team during his career. Giggs played 64 matches for the national team between 1991 and 2007, scoring 12 goals. To date, the former footballer, now 45, is the current coach of the national team of Clacio Gallese.
Giggs has won a number of major trophies as a footballer, including 12 Premier League titles, two Champions League and a FIFA Club World Cup.
Gareth Bale (Cardiff, 16 July 1989) is unarguably the best Welsh footballer still in business, as well as still being considered one of the best footballers in the world. After his first professional appearances with Southampton, Bale definitely exploded playing in London with Tottenham Hotspur. Between 2013 and 2020 Gareth Bale plays with Real Madrid, with mixed fortunes: although he was often in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo, he was nevertheless always decisive nearly every time. An example is the Champions League won by Real against Liverpool 2017/2018 in which Bale was decisive in the final scoring two spectacular goals.
In his career Gareth Bale has won, among other things, 4 Champions League, 4 FIFA Club World Cup. He is currently on loan at Tottenham, despite being still a Real Madrid player.