Tuesday 20 May 2014
Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs has announced his retirement from professional football as he embarks on what he describes as "a new and exciting chapter in my life".
632 BPL appearances
109 BPL goals
13 BPL titles
2 Champions Leagues
4 FA Cups
4 League Cups
1 Player of 20 Seasons
Giggs, who is the most decorated player in the history of the Barclays Premier League, announced his decision in an open letter on the club's website on Monday after his appointment as assistant manager to new United manager Louis van Gaal.
The 40-year-old broke into the United first team in 1990, as an exciting winger with pace, and the first of a string of precocious youth-team graduates that included David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.
Given his wings by Alex Ferguson, Giggs went on to help the Red Devils dominate the Barclays Premier League for the best part of two decades. Giggs, who also captained Wales, won 13 Barclays Premier League titles with United, as well as two UEFA Champions League trophies, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup, four FA Cups and four League Cups.
He is the leading appearance maker in the history of the Barclays Premier League with 632 Barclays Premier League matches and the scorer of 109 top-flight goals
The 'Welsh wizard' was also voted PFA Young Player of the Year two years running, the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2008/09 and the Premier League Player of the Month on three occasions. Two years ago he received the honour of being voted the Best Player of the 20 Seasons of the Premier League.
Giggs also achieved the unique feat of scoring in every season of the Barclay Premier League, with the exception of 2013/14, when his appearances were limited as he took on a role as player-coach under David Moyes, and then interim manager following the Scot’s departure.
Below is Giggs' open letter to announce his retirement as a player:
"Today is a fantastic day for Manchester United. Louis van Gaal is a great appointment and let me begin by telling you how delighted I am to be working with someone of his calibre. His credentials are second to none and I’m positive the club will thrive under his leadership over the coming years.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from professional football and embark upon a new and exciting chapter in my life, as assistant manager of Manchester United. I am immensely proud, honoured and fortunate to have represented the biggest club in the world 963 times and Wales 64 times.
"I have been lucky enough to have fulfilled that dream playing with some of the best players in the world"
"My dream was always to play for Manchester United, and although it saddens me to know I won't be pulling on a United jersey again as a player, I have been lucky enough to have fulfilled that dream playing with some of the best players in the world, working under an incredible manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, and most of all, playing for the greatest fans in world football. I have always felt and appreciated your support.
"I want to also give a huge thanks to the backroom staff and support teams we have and have had at Manchester United over the years. I would not have achieved the success I have without your continuing dedication and commitment to creating the best environment to enable the players to thrive. I would not have won 34 trophies in my career without you. I would also like to say a special thanks to my friends and family for all your love and support.
"For me, today is a new chapter filled with many emotions – immense pride, sadness, but most of all, excitement towards the future. United fans I hope will share and echo my belief that the club, the management and owners, are doing everything they can to return this great club to where it belongs, and I hope to be there every step of the way. To the greatest fans in world football, thank you, I have loved every minute of playing for you and representing the biggest and best club in the world.
See you next season.