Updated: Wednesday, 26th February 2020 @ 2:34pm

Ryan Giggs closes book on playing career but opens new chapter as Manchester United assistant manager

Ryan Giggs closes book on playing career but opens new chapter as Manchester United assistant manager

| By Tim Hyde

Ryan Giggs has called an end to his playing career after nearly a quarter of a century following the appointment of Louis van Gaal as Manchester United's new manager.

The 40-year-old will take the reins next season as Van Gaal’s assistant manager, following the Dutchman’s appointment this afternoon.

During an illustrious playing career, Giggs, has made 963 appearances for United spanning more than 24 years.

In that time the Welshman helped clinch 13 Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two Champions Leagues, making him the most decorated player in English football.

The former teen heartthrob has been enjoying life on the side-lines this year after being appointed United’s interim manager following the dismissal of David Moyes.

Today Giggs released a statement calling time on his playing career, but welcomed the new challenge he has ahead of him.

In an open letter to fans, he said: "I would also like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from professional football and embark upon a new and exciting chapter in my life, as assistant manager of Manchester United.

“I am immensely proud, honoured and fortunate to have represented the biggest club in the world 963 times and Wales 64 times. My dream was always to play for Manchester United

"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."

Giggs will take his seat alongside Van Gaal in the Old Trafford dug-out next season and will hope to take his boy-hood side back to the summit of the Premier League – following a treacherous campaign under David Moyes.

He added: "For me, today is a new chapter filled with many emotions – immense pride, sadness, but most of all, excitement towards the future.

“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."

Giggs will be part of a coaching team including the goalkeeping coach, Frans Hoek and Marcel Bout, who joins the Red Devils as an assistant coach.

"I am thrilled to have the chance to serve as assistant manager,” Giggs said.

“Louis van Gaal is a world-class coach and I know I will learn a lot about coaching from being able to observe and contribute at such close quarters.

"Manchester United has been a huge part of my life and I'm delighted to be able to continue that relationship in such a key role."

Image courtesy of MUTV, via YouTube, with thanks.