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Giggs retires, issues open letter to fans; a look back at a legend

May 19, 2014, 10:57 AM EST

Britain Soccer Premier League AP

Ryan Giggs will not be a player-assistant, as the 40-year-old Manchester United legend is retiring after a storied career saw him shower the club in honors while accumulating a great deal of individual recognition as well.

We’ll get to Giggs’ laundry list of accomplishments in a bit, but here’s the open letter he penned to United supporters on the Manchester United web site.

From ManUtd.com:

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. 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.
Ryan

Truly, a new era begins in Manchester.

Giggs got plenty done since posting up as the second-most recognizable man of the “Class of ’92.” Consider:

- OBE for “service to football.”

- 963 club appearances, all with United.

- 168 goals, scoring 10-plus during five seasons.

- Thirteen Premier League titles (an English top division record), four FA Cups and four League Cups.

- Two UEFA Champions League winners’ medals.

- Two-time PFA Young Player of the Year.

- English Football Hall of Famer.

- Most Premier League appearances for a player (611).

- Only player to have played in 22-straight PL seasons, and scored in 21.

- Only player to have scored in 17 UEFA Champions League campaigns.

- Oldest player to score in:

1) Olympics

2) Champions League

And how about this one?

Never sent off for Manchester United.

  1. braxtonrob - May 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Come to the MLS

  2. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - May 19, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Presumption that he’ll assume once van Gaal? A fantastic player.

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