Ryan Giggs’ 29-year association with Manchester United has ended, with the club confirming his departure from the coaching staff on Saturday.
Giggs won 35 trophies during his 24 seasons as a first-team player at Old Trafford, including 13 Premier League titles. He also racked up a club-record 963 appearances before retiring in the summer of 2014 following a four-game spell as caretaker player-manager following David Moyes’ dismissal.
He then became assistant manager to Louis van Gaal, with the original plan having been for Giggs to potentially take the manager’s job at the end of the Dutchman’s three-year contract in 2017.
But Van Gaal’s sacking in May following two underwhelming seasons resulted in a change of plan from the Old Trafford hierarchy, and Jose Mourinho’s decision to hand Giggs a reduced role on his new-look backroom staff led the 42-year-old to consider his options.
nd on Saturday the club announced in a statement that Giggs had decided to call time on his glorious spell with United almost three decades on from his arrival on a Youth Training Scheme deal on his 14th birthday.
Upon his exit, Giggs said in a statement: “After 29 seasons at Manchester United as a player and assistant manager, I know winning is in the DNA of this club – giving youth a chance, and playing attacking and exciting football. It’s healthy to have high expectations, it’s right to expect to win. Manchester United expects, deserves, nothing less.
“This is why it is a huge decision for me to step away from the club that has been my life since the age of 14. It has not been a decision that I have made lightly. I’ll take away so many special memories as well as a lifetime of experiences that will, I hope, serve me well in the future.
“However, the time feels right and, although I have no immediate plans to step into management, it is where I want to be.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate in having two great managerial mentors; first in Sir Alex, who I’ve spent the majority of my life working with and learning from and who I believe will remain as football’s greatest-ever manager and in more recent times, Louis van Gaal, whose CV speaks for itself. The knowledge I have gleaned from them has been invaluable.
“I want to reiterate my thanks to the backroom staff and support teams at Manchester United I’ve worked with over the years. The results on the pitch are a reflection of the hard work off it. I would not have achieved the success I have without the dedication, sacrifice and commitment of these people in creating the best environment for the team to succeed.
“I want to congratulate José Mourinho on his appointment as manager of the world’s biggest club. There are only a handful of proven winners at the very highest level and José is unquestionably one of them. I know the fans will welcome him.
“My final thank you is to the fans. I cannot begin to tell you how much I will miss walking out at Old Trafford in front of you. It’s extremely difficult to say goodbye after 29 years. I have loved every minute both as a player and assistant manager. The support you have always shown me has been phenomenal; thank you.
“It’s time for a new chapter and a new challenge. I’m excited about the future – I’ve had the best apprenticeship into management anyone could ever ask for.”
Speculation had mounted in recent times regarding Giggs’ future due to Mourinho’s arrival at United, while his decision to join ITV’s team of pundits for the final 11 days of Euro 2016 in France increased talk he was ready to look for a management job away from Old Trafford.