After a record-breaking career, Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs called time on his playing days earlier this week.
The former Welsh international most recently took charge as manager of his beloved Manchester United for four games after the sacking of David Moyes.
After announcing his retirement in an open letter to Manchester United fans, Giggs will now act as assistant to new ‘Red Devils’ manager Louis van Gaal. After a glittering career filled with trophies, awards and Guinness World Records titles, we look back at the astonishing achievements of the ‘Welsh Wizard’.
After making his Manchester United debut as a substitute against Everton on 2 March 1991, Giggs went on to make a staggering 963 appearances for his boyhood club. Of those appearances, a record-breaking 632 were made in the Premier League, giving Giggs the Guinness World Records title for ‘Most appearances in the English football (soccer) Premier League’. Over this period, Giggs played a huge role in establishing an unrivalled period of success at Manchester United that would see him pick up an unprecedented 13 Premier League winner’s medals, earning him the title for ‘Most wins of the top division in English football by a player (soccer)’, winning his last title in the 2012-2013 season.
With his retirement, Giggs will snap a run of 22 consecutive seasons in which he has appeared in the Premier League, giving him the title for ‘Most consecutive Premier League football seasons played in’. Amazingly, this season was also the only Premier League campaign in which Giggs failed to find the net in the league for Manchester United, meaning that his record for ‘Most consecutive Premier League football seasons scored in’ stands at 21. The last of his 109 Premier League goals came against QPR on 23 February 2013.
As good in front of goal as Giggs was, he was even better when it came to creating goals for the 150 Manchester United teammates he had over his career. From his early years as a winger with blistering pace and phenomenal dribbling ability, to his later years firing raking long balls and supplying inch perfect through passes for his strikers to get on the end of, Giggs has turned setting up goals into an art form. That is why he holds the record for the ‘Most English Football Premier League assists’ at an unbelievable 162.
It wasn’t only domestically that Giggs broke records. He also holds the record for ‘Most UEFA Champions League appearances’, having played in the competition 151 times, scoring 30 goals and winning the tournament on two occasions, in 1998-1999 and 2007-2008. He also became the ‘Oldest player to score in the UEFA Champions League’ when he netted for Manchester United at the age of 37 years 185 days in a 2-0 victory over Schalke 04 in a semi-final first leg at Vetlins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on 26 April 2011.
Internationally, Giggs was never able to achieve the same level of success he reached with his club, retiring relatively early in his career with 12 goals in 64 international appearances for Wales. However, with a Great Britain side being entered into the football competition at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Giggs was asked to captain the team, setting more records along the way. He became the ‘Oldest outfield Olympic footballer (male)’ and ‘Oldest Olympic football goalscorer (male)’ when, at age 38 years 243 days, he played and scored for Team GB in a match against the United Arab Emirates at Wembley Stadium, on 29 July 2012.
With a career littered with highlights, it is difficult to come up with one defining moment for the great man. However, from the majesty of the run and finish, to the horror of the ‘hair-raising’ celebration, Giggs’ extra time goal to win the FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa Park against rivals Arsenal on 14 April 1999 is one of English footballs most iconic moments:
With English football unlikely to see the likes of Ryan Giggs again, Guinness World Records would like to mark his decision to retire by saluting all of his record-breaking achievements. Ryan Giggs, you are Officially Amazing.
Giggs’ Guinness World Records titles in full:
Most appearances in the English football (soccer) Premier League
Most wins of the top division in English football by a player (soccer)
Most English Football Premier League assists
Most consecutive Premier League football seasons played in
Most consecutive Premier League football seasons scored in
Most UEFA Champions League appearances
Oldest player to score in the UEFA Champions League
Oldest Olympic football goalscorer (male)
Oldest outfield Olympic footballer (male)
Giggs on the cover of the Guinness World Records Book 1995 (UK edition)