London: Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs is set to leave the club after almost 29 years of service, the English Premier League club announced on Saturday in a widely expected move following Jose Mourinho's appointment as manager. The 42-year-old Welshman who was an integral part of the great Class of 92 groomed by Alex Ferguson made a record 963 appearances and is keen to pursue a managerial career, having been assistant manager during the unsuccessful spells of David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal.
Here are the five memorable Ryan Giggs moments after he announced his departure from Manchester United after almost 29 years of service on Saturday:
1998/99 FA Cup semi-final: Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1 - Loses his shirt
Hard to say which was more spectacular, the goal or the celebration, in the FA Cup semi-final with Arsenal. United had their backs to the wall with Roy Keane not for the first time sent off but Peter Schmeichel had kept their hopes alive with a penalty save. Giggs seized the moment in dramatic style taking possession inside his own half and beat a series of Arsenal players before unleashing an unstoppable shot past David Seaman. In a rare moment of raw emotion Giggs wheeled around, whipped off his shirt and ran down the touchline. They were to go on and win it as well as the league title and the Champions League. "Unless you've been in that situation, especially when it's a huge goal, you lose yourself and where you don't know what you're doing," he said years later after retiring as a player.
2003/04 Champions League Round of 16 - Manchester United 3 Juventus 0 - No respect for 'The Old Lady'
Difficult to imagine, but there was a brief spell when United fans thought Giggs was a spent force. The Welsh maestro answered them the only way he knew how by scoring a wonder goal in the Champions League match in Turin. He may not have been the biggest player but he shrugged off two typically uncompromising Italian style tackles to fire past Gianluigi Buffon — one of a double for him that night in a 3-0 victory. No ripping off of the shirt that evening, instead he ran to the fans, turned round and pointed to the name on the back of his shirt. Game over, Giggs was back in favour.
2007/08 Champions League Final - Ice cool
With the scoreboard showing United 5 Chelsea 5 in the penalty shootout in the Champions League final in Moscow, Giggs got the nod. Cristiano Ronaldo had missed for United and John Terry for Chelsea but Giggs shrugged off the pressure and once again showed he could handle the toughest of situations now that it was sudden death. He sent Petr Cech the wrong way and subsequently goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar saved Nicolas Anelka's spot kick to give Alex Ferguson and United their second Champions League title.
2009/10 Premier League: Manchester United 4 Manchester City 3 - Derby hero
The legs may have aged but not his ability to spot an opportunity and pick out a team-mate. None more so than in this see saw of a derby with the teams locked at 3-3 and well into time added on. Instead of going for glory himself with the ball on the edge of the box he picked out Michael Owen and the England striker slotted home to seal a remarkable three points for the Red Devils.
2013/14 Premier League: Manchester United 4 Norwich 0 - What might have been
Giggs had seen both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal come in and fail to spark the same success as the inimitable Ferguson had done. However, he did get a brief chance to show his managerial skills in between Moyes and van Gaal starting with a bang with this 4-0 hammering of Norwich. He ended with 2 wins, a draw and a a defeat. He gave a rare insight into how strong were his emotional attachments to the club following the final game of that cameo role when he thought it was his final bow for the club he had been with since he was 14. "I get in my car and I just went, started crying, getting really emotional. It was a mixture of saying goodbye to people for maybe the last time and the pressure that I put myself under," he told the Daily Telegraph in June 2014.