Ryan Giggs wins his place on Monaco’s Walk of Fame

What: Golden Foot Awards 2011
Where: Fairmont Hotel, Monte Carlo
When: 8pm Monday 11 October 2011

Hollywood has the Oscars, London the Baftas, and Monaco … the Golden Foot. Sounds comical, but this award for footballing prowess is yet another example of the way in which the Principality has re-aligned itself in modern times as a centre of international excellence.

Founded only eight years ago, the prestigious Foot is awarded to a player of international calibre, over 29 years old, who has demonstrated not only outstanding athletic ability but also the esteem and respect of the public and his peers. The first eight recipients of the title are justly celebrated: Roberto Baggio, Pavel Nevĕd, Andriy Shevchenko, Ronaldo, Alessandro del Piero, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldhino, and Francesco Totti.

Last night, at a star-studded ceremony in Monaco, Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs became the ninth player to pick up the award. ‘I have been fortunate to play alongside great players, play for the greatest manager and play for the best club in the world,’ he said. ‘It’s a great honour to win such an award, and to have my footprints alongside those of some of the greatest football players is a real privilege.

‘I suppose I will have to start thinking about retirement soon but at the moment I am still enjoying my football. If it all finished tomorrow I could say that I have had a fantastic career and wouldn’t swap it with anybody. I’m enjoying it now just like I was when I was 17.’

Ten players are nominated each year by a special jury – but also by fans through the official website, www.goldenfoot.com, and then voted on over the course of three months. The winning player leaves a permanent impression of himself on the seafront in the form of a footprint in bronze.  And it’s well worth a visit to The Champions’ Promenade, since it’s not only the Foot winners who are represented there but many more of the world’s greatest players. There are even what one Internet wit has called ‘The Feet of God’ – the imprints of Diego Maradona!

2011 Winner: Ryan Giggsgoldenfoot

2011 Nominees

David BECKHAM England LA Galaxy (USA)
Gianluigi BUFFON Italy Juventus FC
Didier DROGBA Ivory Coast Chelsea FC
Iker CASILLAS Spain Real Madrid CF
Ryan GIGGS Wales Manchester United
Samuel ETO’O Cameroon FC Anzhi Makhachkala
Gonzalez Bianco RAUL Spain FC Schalke 04
Charels PUYOL Spain Barcelona FC
Xavi HERNANDEZ
Spain Barcelona FC
 Xavier ZANETTI  Argentina  FC Internazionale

Programme

11am Salon Grand Prix: presentation press conference and Golden Foot career awards

7pm Galerie Cristal: footprints ceremony in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and the proclamation of 2011 GOLDEN FOOT winner, as voted for by web poll.

8.15 pm Salle d’Or: gala dinner with presentation of GOLDEN FOOT awards and charity auction dedicated to Princess Stephanie’s ‘Fight AIDS Monaco’ charity.