Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs announced his retirement from professional football yesterday.
The announcement came on the same day that he was appointedas assistant manager to new boss Louis van Gaal.
40 year-old Giggs is the Barclays Premier League's most-decorated player, winning a total of 35 trophies during his professional career, including 13 league titles and two Champions Leagues.
Giggs is also the record-appearance holder at Old Trafford, making a total of 963 appearances during his time with the Red Devils. The last of these appearances came against Hull City on May 6, when he replaced young Tom Lawrence for the last 20 minutes of the game. United won 3-1.
But Giggs obviously feels that now is the right time to call time on his professional playing career in order for him to fully focus on his new job at the club.
Giggs issued an open letter to United fans, informing them of his decision to retire as a player and his pride at being able to continue his relationship with Manchester United in a coaching capacity.
Giggs had the following to say: “For me, today is a new chapter filled with many emotions - immense pride, sadness, but most of all, excitement towards the future.
“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.
“I am immensely proud, honoured and fortunate to have represented the biggest club in the world 963 times and Wales 64 times.”
On the appointment of Van Gaal as the new manager Giggs said: “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.
“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.”
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU