March 2 marks 25 years to the day since Ryan Giggs’ Manchester United debut against Everton at Old Trafford.
Then 17, the young Welshman started a journey that would lead to a club-record 963 appearances, including 13 Premier League titles, two Champions Leagues and four FA Cups.
– Giggs was signed by United on July 9, 1990 and was offered his first professional contract on the day he turned 17 – November 29, 1990.
– In his early teenage years, he attended Manchester City’s school of excellence.
– Giggs made his debut as a first-half substitute for the injured Denis Irwin against Everton in March 1991. United lost the match 2-0.
– He scored his first senior goal on his full league debut against Man City in a 1-0 win for United at Old Trafford two months later.
– That was the first of 672 top-flight appearances for the Red Devils (Division One and Premier League), of which 117 came as a substitute.
– His 632 Premier League appearances is the most in the competition’s history.
– Giggs scored in all but one of his 22 seasons in the first-team – despite making 22 appearances during his final campaign (2013/14), he failed to find the net.
– He took charge as interim player-manager following David Moyes’ departure, and made his final appearance for United in a 3-1 victory over Hull City at Old Trafford in May 2014. Giggs brought himself on to replace Tom Lawrence after 70 minutes.
– He ended his career with 109 Premier League goals, two more than former team-mate Paul Scholes. That places him 20th in the league’s all-time scoring list.
– In the top 20 all-time Premier League top scorers, only two players who have played for a single Premier League club have scored more – Thierry Henry for Arsenal (175) and Steven Gerrard for Liverpool (120).
– His club-record 963 appearances is 205 more than second-place Sir Bobby Charlton.
– He surpassed Charlton’s mark of 758 appearances on the same night he won his second Champions League – in Moscow on May 21, 2008 as United beat Chelsea on penalties.
– Giggs scored what proved to be the decisive spot-kick in that penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea.
– In total, he hit 168 goals for the club – good enough for sixth on United’s all-time goalscoring chart, and 11 behind George Best in fifth.
– His total of 13 Premier League goals during the 1993/94 season was the highest single-season tally of his career.
– Giggs won 34 trophies as a player, making him the most decorated in English football history.
– United beat Red Star Belgrade in the 1991 European Super Cup to earn Giggs his first senior trophy, while his last came in the 2013 Community Shield. United beat Wigan 2-0 at Wembley.
– He was twice named PFA Young Player of the Year (1991/92, 1992/93), and was named in the PFA Team of the Year six times (1992/93, 1997/98, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2006/07, 2008/09).
– Giggs never received a red card while playing for United, although he did get sent off for Wales against Norway in 2001 after two yellow cards.
– Only Iker Casillas (156), Xavi (151) and Raul (142) have made more Champions League appearances (141).
– Giggs is the only player to score in 16 different Champions League campaigns. He scored his first in 1994 against IFK Goteborg and his last against Benfica September 2011.
– His strike against Goteborg after 33 minutes on September 14, 1994 was United’s first Champions League group stage goal. He added a second in the same game shortly after as United beat their Swedish opponents 4-2.
– His goal against Benfica, at 37 years and 290 days, briefly made Giggs the oldest scorer in Champions League history, but Francesco Totti’s strike against Man City in September 2014 broke that record. Totti was 38 years and three days.
– France legend and current Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane once said of Giggs: “If he was French, I would have been on the bench!”
– Giggs was given an OBE for his services to football in 2007.