Giggs row casts shadow over Sir Alex and final

MANCHESTER UNITED manager Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to brush off the controversy engulfing Ryan Giggs yesterday – but succeeded only in being dragged into the storm.

So keen was Ferguson to avoid the topic, which has overshadowed preparations for the Champions League final, he told an aide to ban a journalist who asked a question about the Welsh star. The reporter had enquired how important Giggs would be in Saturday’s showpiece match against Barcelona, given the 37-year-old’s vast experience.

“All of the players are important, every one of them,” replied Ferguson, who then leant towards an aide and whispered a request that the agency journalist in question be barred from Friday’s pre-match press conference.

Yet far from stamping out the row, Ferguson found himself embroiled in it when a television channel later broadcast footage of the Scot discreetly making the remarks to the club employee.

Giggs, who was on Monday named by Lib Dem MP John Hemming in the House of Commons as the player at the centre of a super-injunction row, took part in last night’s testimonial match for long-serving defender Gary Neville. He played 30 minutes in the defeat to Italian side Juventus at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Ferguson confirmed a deal had been struck to sign Atletico Madrid goalkeeper David de Gea as Edwin van der Sar’s successor.