Manchester United's long-serving winger Ryan Giggs last night spoke of his “unbelievable shock” at being voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
The footballer known universally as “Giggsy” beat a tough field of competitors including bookies’ favourite Formula One World Champion Jenson Button and heavyweight boxing champion David Haye to land the much coveted title.
A visibly shocked Giggs told the huge crowd at the event in Sheffield: “This is up there — I grew up watching this, I grew up watching this programme, and to see the people that have won it is unbelievable.”
The 36-year-old Welshman, who has been a perennial favourite in Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United side for almost two decades, praised his manager and teammates.
He said: “This is unbelievable, this is a shock, as you can tell by the speech I prepared.
“I've been lucky enough to win a lot of things in my career, playing with great players and playing under the greatest manager who has ever lived. I've played for the greatest club, this is up there.”
Giggs is the most decorated player in English football history, and in May this year won a record 11th Premier League winners' medal.
He has been in outstanding form all year and was instrumental in helping United reach the Champions League final. He is one of the most respected players in the game and in April this year he won the prestigious PFA Player Of The Year award for the first time.
In the same month he made his 800th appearance for United — the only club he has played for in a professional career spanning 19 years. In 2009 he scored his 150th goal for United.
Explaining how he kept up his level of performance despite his advancing years, Giggs said: “Desire, looking after myself. I'm enjoying my football more than ever and I think that's reflected in my play.”
Odds-on favourite Jenson Button, (29) came second, followed by athlete Jessica Ennis (23) in third place.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to golf legend Seve Ballesteros, who is battling a debilitating brain tumour. The golfer has been involved in the game for more than 35 years and was one of the sport's leading figures from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s.
Along the way he has notched up almost 100 professional wins, including five majors.
He claimed six European Tour Order of Merit titles, was named European Tour Player of the Year three times and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.
Coach of the Year went to England football manager Fabio Capello after he masterminded the team's success in reaching the World Cup Finals.
Ryan Giggs factfile
1973: Born Ryan Joseph Wilson on November 29 in Cardiff.
1990: Signs as a trainee with Manchester United in July and then as a professional at the start of December.
1991: Adopts mother's maiden name and becomes Ryan Giggs.
March - Makes United debut aged 17 as a substitute against Everton. Two months later he scores the winner against Manchester City at Old Trafford on his full debut.
October - Becomes the youngest footballer to represent Wales when he plays against Germany in Nuremberg aged 17 years and 322 days.
November - Wins his first piece of silverware with United as the Reds beat Red Star Belgrade to lift the UEFA Super Cup.
1992: Helps United lift League Cup and that season is voted PFA Young Player of the Year.
1993: Becomes first player to be named PFA Young Player of the Year twice.
Member of United side which ends the club's 26-year wait to win the league title.
1994: Helps United win the Premier League and FA Cup double for the first time in the club's history.
1996: Helps the Reds win the double for a second time.
1997: Wins a third league title in four years and in October scores a memorable goal in their 3-2 Champions League victory over Juventus at Old Trafford.
1998: Injures his hamstring in February and is out for six weeks as United finish the season empty-handed.
1999: Scores stunning winner in United's epic FA Cup semi-final replay victory over Arsenal at Villa Park in April. Helps the Reds complete an historic treble of European Cup, Premier League and FA Cup.
2000: Wins his sixth Premier League winners' medal in eight years.
2001: Collects his seventh league championship and 12th major honour in total.
July - Signs a new five-year contact worth around £50,000 a week. Sent off for the first time in his career for two bookable offences as Wales crash 3-2 in Norway.
2002: April: Describes United's Champions League semi-final defeat by Bayer Leverkusen as the "low point" of his career. United finish third in Premier League.
August 23: Nets 100th goal for United in all competitions with the team's second goal in league game at Chelsea.
2003: May - United are crowned champions again.
September - Giggs, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, charged with improper conduct by the Football Association following his involvement in confrontations with Arsenal players after a goalless draw at Old Trafford.
November - Giggs elbows Russia's Vadim Evseev in Euro 2004 play-off in Moscow, prompting the Russian football association to call for an immediate ban.
December - Giggs fined £7,500 and warned as to his future conduct at an FA disciplinary hearing into Old Trafford fracas. Then suspended for two matches for Evseev incident.
2004: May - United finish third in the table but Giggs lines up in the 3-0 FA Cup final victory over Millwall.
2007: February - Scores the only goal as United defeat Lille in the Champions League last-16 first leg, curling home a quickly-taken free-kick as home goalkeeper Tony Sylva lined up his wall. The French side appeared to briefly contemplate a walk-off in protest and later appealed to UEFA claiming the goal should not have stood.
May 6 - Wins ninth Premier League title with Manchester United.
May 30 - Announces retirement from international football.
October 16 - Signs new contract until end of June 2009.
2008: May 11 - Equals Sir Bobby Charlton's appearance record for the club when he played his 758th game against Wigan.
May 21 - Breaks Sir Bobby Charlton's record after coming on as a substitute - and scoring a penalty in the dramatic shoot-out - as Manchester United beat Chelsea in the Champions League final.
2009: February 12 - Signs new deal with United, committing him to the club until June 2010.
April 26 - Voted Professional Footballers' Association player of the year.
May 16 - Helps United win the Premier League and becomes the first footballer to collect 11 top division English league title medals.
December 13 - Named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.