Ryan Giggs has retired from his professional playing career after making a record 963 appearances for Manchester United.
The Premier League most-decorated player with 34 trophies announced his retirement in an open letter to the club fans, moments after been confirmed Louis van Gaal’s assistant.
The ex-Wales winger wrote: “I would 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. 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.”
During his 23-year career, Giggs has scored in the every of the first 21 Premier League seasons, en-route to claiming 13 league winner’s medals, his first dates back to 1993. He has also won four FA Cups and two Champions Leagues.
Aside the Europa League, Giggs have won every major trophy in club football. He was voted the PFA Player of the Year for the 2008/09 season- when he lifted United’s second Champions League trophy in Moscow.
He was named interim manager, following David Moyes’ dismissal in April, leading the 20-time champions to two wins, a draw and one loss in its final four matches of the previous season.
“For me, today is a new chapter filled with many emotions – immense pride, sadness, but most of all, excitement towards the future,” added Giggs. “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.”
Giggs met incoming manager Louis van Gaal in the Netherlands last Wednesday and was confirmed the Dutchman’s assistant earlier in the day. He becomes the last of the ‘Class of 92′ to call a quit on an illustrious playing career.
Man United’s Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward believes none in the English game would ever equal Giggs’ achievement in the red shirt.
“Ryan Giggs has been one of the greatest players ever to wear the red shirt of Manchester United. What he has achieved will never be equalled in the English game.
Woodward said: “In the way he played, he was the embodiment of a Manchester United player – fast, skilful, entertaining and determined to win by playing exciting football. His progress from the ranks of the famous Class of ’92 to the most decorated player in this or any club’s history is down to his hard work, ability and attitude.
“He is at the start of an exciting new chapter in his and the club’s life but now is the right moment to reflect on the achievements of the finest British player of the last 25 years.”