Ryan Giggs has ended his 29-year association with Manchester United, where he departs to pursue his ambition of becoming a full-time manager.
Since making his debut in 1991, Giggs accumulated a mammoth 963 appearances for the club, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record six years before retiring.
The Welshman is the most decorated player in English football, having won 13 league titles, two Champions Leagues, four FA Cups, four League Cups, nine Community Shields, one Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup.
These kind of figures trump that of Manchester City’s entire history, with Giggs named as the PFA Player of the Year in 2009, when United equalled Liverpool’s record of 18 league crowns.
Two more have been won since, and in 2013, Giggs took on the role of player-coach, to assist David Moyes on the back of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
Giggs himself then retired from the field the following year, after taking charge of four games on an interim basis following Moyes’ departure.
The Cardiff-born legend won two, draw one and lost one, as well as giving academy starlets James Wilson and Tom Lawrence their debuts against Hull City, in which the latter netted a brace, and the former was replaced by Giggs himself in his final ever appearance.
Giggs was keen on promoting the youth, just like he was given the opportunity to do having progress through the ranks and was one of United’s star-studded Class of ’92, and has since watched over emerging talent included Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Marcus Rashford.
Facing up to adversity, Giggs admitted that he was not ready for a full time role in management after this short stint, and has since assisted Louis van Gaal during the Dutchman’s two seasons at the helm.
The sacking of Van Gaal left Giggs in limbo, with Jose Mourinho appointed as manager shortly after.
Giggs was faced with a difficult decision to make, but he walks away from Old Trafford with a playing career pedigree second to none, and seems ready to take on the mantle of first team manager elsewhere.
A flying left winger with pace and energy capable to terrifying any defence, Giggs scored 168 goals for United, as well as 12 in 64 for Wales, and having a four-game experience for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics where he also scored and captained the side.
He was never sent off during his career, a phenomenal feat considering his longevity, the physicality of the Premier League and plying his trade in the midfield, an area that needs focus on both attack and defence.
Giggs showcased his versatility in later years, shifting in-field to prolong his playing career, and is currently the Premier League’s all-time leading assist holder with 162.
If his managerial career is even half of what his playing days were like, he will have a successful time on the touchline that’s for sure.
It seems surreal to say goodbye, but we wish Giggs all the best in his future career.