King Eric hails Giggs persistent passion
The 35-year-old former Welsh international pipped United team-mates Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo and Edwin van der Sar to the gong at Sunday evening's awards ceremony in London, with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard the other contender on the six man shortlist.
And Cantona, who made more than 150 appearance for the Red Devils from 1992-97, winning four league titles and two FA Cups, revealed his admiration for Giggs, who is set to make his 800th club appearance against Arsenal in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday.
"We are very different personalities," he exclusively told FourFourTwo.
"Me, when I do things, I fall in love with them very quickly, not only in football. I'm lucky because I have a lot of passions, so it's not a problem for me to go from one to another.
"But I admire this kind of person, I admire Ryan, because he still plays but he still plays with a passion. Some players, sometimes they play very late, but they lose a bit of the passion for the game, so I don't have any respect for this kind of player.
"When they still have the passion, I admire that, because it's so far away from my personality. It's the same for [Paolo] Maldini, players like this."
Giggs has only started 12 league games this season, although he has also featured in the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup, and netted the winner at West Ham in February to ensure he has netted in all 17 Premier League campaigns since its inception in 1992.
Asked whether Giggs was a truely deserving winner of the 2009 award despite his relative lack of match action, Cantona added: "I didn't watch enough games to say that, so it's difficult. You need to watch all the games to compare."
While he also poured cold water on suggestions that only creative, attacking players were worthy of picking up the prize, with Chelsea skipper John Terry - in 2005 - the only defender to have scooped the award in the last 16 years.
"They are all important," he said. "And defenders should win trophies more often, because they are not less important.
"If one player assists for the goals, or scores goals, or when one defender defends very well, it's like scoring a goal."
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