Ryan Giggs is officially leaving Manchester United to pursue his desire to be a manager.
The Welshman has played more times than anyone else in the club’s history and has won every major honour in club football.
He joined in 1987 as a 14-year-old and made over 1,000 first-team appearances across all competitions after his debut in 1991.
Giggs had a brief spell as interim player-manager in 2014 after the dismissal of David Moyes and then took on an assistant manager role under Louis van Gaal, but here is his statement on leaving the club:
“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.”
He’s a legend at the club and it’s sad to see him leave, but if he wants the chance to manage Man United further down the line then it’s the best step he can take to boost his odds.
Giggs the won the Premier League title on 13 occasions, four FA Cups, four League Cups, nine Community Shields, a pair of Champions League crowns, a UEFA Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup.
However, he is only at the start of his management career, it’s a good decision for him to make and I hope he is succesfful at the next club he goes to.