Evra hails Giggs as winger takes 100th UCL bow

February 20, 2008

Patrice Evra took time out on his return to France to praise his Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs, who is set to make his 100th Champions League appearance tonight.

Giggs, 34, should be in good shape to face Lyon in the first leg of the knock-out phase after he was rested for Saturday's FA Cup victory against Arsenal.

United full-back Evra believes Giggs has helped him grow as a player in his two years at Old Trafford.

The former Monaco skipper said: 'It is a privilege to play alongside Ryan Giggs and a brilliant experience.

'He is a great player and when I started my career here, I knew I could learn from him.

'It is a great achievement to play 100 games in the Champions League and I am very happy for him.'

The Welsh star's career at the top level of European club competition has spanned 15 years and shows no sign of slowing down.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has lauded Giggs as an 'absolute model'.

'There are only a few players who have reached that milestone,' said the Old Trafford boss.

'That is because of Ryan's ability, his longevity and how he prepares - you just have to look at his lifestyle.

'He is obviously at a successful club as well and for me he has been an absolute model in his time with us. Even at 34, we expect big things from him.

'We do not play him in every game but that is natural for someone of his age - but he will play against Lyon.

'It will be a great occasion for Ryan and we are all proud of him.'

Ferguson has a host of options for the match, with all his big-hitters, apart from injured duo Gary Neville and Mikael Silvestre, available.

Leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo has recovered from the stomach virus that saw him sidelined at the weekend.

Carlos Tevez and Owen Hargreaves could return to the starting line-up after being rested.

While United were cruising to victory against Arsenal, Lyon suffered a surprise defeat to Le Mans and are now only one point clear of Bordeaux at the top of Ligue 1.

However, they have already shown their strength of character in the Champions League after losing their first two group games to Barcelona and Rangers.

Under coach Alain Perrin, they bounced back and took 10 points from their next four games.

Crucially, they gained revenge against Rangers at Ibrox to secure their passage into the last 16.

Ferguson said: 'We know Lyon will be disappointed at losing to Le Mans and this is a big match for both teams.

'It should be a good atmosphere and an exciting game to look forward to.'