That, then, is that. Ryan Giggs has retired from football with immediate effect. He won't be leaving the club — he was today confirmed as assistant (and likely heir apparent) to the incoming manager Louis van Gaal — but on the bench next season he will wearing his matchday suit. In a statement on the club website, he said:
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.
Giggs holds the record for the most appearances at United, having turned out 963 times over a career that has lasted more than 23 years. In that time he's scored 168 goals and has lifted the Premier League trophy a quite ridiculous 13 times. He has also won the Champions League twice and the FA and League Cup four times apiece.
He also did this:
Quite where in the pantheon of United greats he sits is a matter for debate, though he remains the all-time favourite United player of at least one third of tBB. But it will be a long, long time, we suspect, before anybody reaches 964.