Robinson salutes his country's best

STEVEN SANDOR -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

As an Arsenal fan, one of the worst days of my life came April 14, 1999, in extra time of the FA Cup semifinal. Ryan Giggs weaved through pretty well the entire Gunners back line and pummeled a shot past a helpless David Seaman, giving dreaded Manchester United a famous 2-1 win.

United fans recall Giggs' goal as one of the greatest in their club's history.

Giggs is arguably the best Welsh player who has ever lived; so, there were tears when he announced he was retiring from international duty so he could prolong his pro career.

Toronto FC co-captain Carl Robinson was on the pitch with Giggs two weeks ago in Cardiff as Wales played the mighty Czechs to a draw. He was there as Giggs walked off the pitch for the last time wearing the red Welsh uniform.

"Obviously he's as good as any player to ever come from the country," says Robinson. "It's obvious that he still has a lot of talent. He's a player that really doesn't have any weaknesses. His decision is a big loss for us, we will have to try and overcome it."

Robinson's job was to shut down the Czechs' main midfield threat, Tomas Rosicky -- and he did it well. But really, all the focus was on Giggs.

"He was a little bit emotional after the game," recalls Robinson. "And 40,000 people had come out to see him. It would have been magical had he been able to beat three or four players and score, but it wasn't to be."

Robinson says all will remember Giggs as a quiet leader. Unlike a former Man U teammate who likes to flog cologne and craves the paparazzi, Giggs let his greatness on the pitch do the talking.

And his influence has made all his Welsh teammates -- including Robinson -- that much better.

24 hours sports editor Steven Sandor has written about the Beautiful Game for numerous publications around the globe. The Red Card will appear every Wednesday in 24 hours.


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