Ryan Giggs at 40: The games, the goals and the gongs

The most decorated player in English football history. Manchester United's record appearance holder. More goals for United than Mark Hughes, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The top 40 club

Gordon Strachan

Giggs can become the fourth outfield player to play in the Premier League at the age of 40, joining:

  • Teddy Sheringham - Played at 40 years and 271 days for West Ham in December 2006
  • Kevin Phillips - Played at 40 years and 89 days for Crystal Palace last month
  • Gordon Strachan (above) - Played at 40 years and 82 days for Coventry in May 1997

As Ryan Giggs turns 40 on Friday, he can look back on an extraordinary career spanning more than 1,000 games and 150 goals over 22 long seasons. But he can also look back on playing a key role in Wednesday night's 5-0 win in Leverkusen, which secured qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League for another year.

The Premier League did not exist when he made his debut for Manchester United. John Major was Prime Minister, Bart Simpson was number one in the charts, the Birmingham Six were still in jail and Kevin Costner was about to clean up at the Oscars with Dances With Wolves.

As well as 953 senior appearances for United, he has won 64 full international caps for Wales, and a further four captaining Great Britain in last year's London Olympics.

BBC Sport takes a look at the key statistics and memorable moments involving Giggs since he made his first senior appearance for United as a skinny teenager in a baggy shirt.

Ryan Giggs in numbers

17 - Giggs was offered his first professional contract with Manchester United on his 17th birthday on 29 November, 1990.

Giggs's Manchester United appearances

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs
  • Premier League: 626 (including 108 as substitute)
  • Division One (pre-1992): 40 (including seven as substitute)
  • FA Cup: 74 (including 12 as substitute)
  • League Cup: 40 (including six as substitute)
  • European Cup/Champions League: 148 (including 23 as substitute)
  • European Cup Winners' Cup: 1
  • Uefa Cup: 5
  • Other matches (Charity/Community Shield, European Super Cup, Fifa Club World Cup): 19 (including 3 as substitute)

*does not include friendlies

626 - Giggs has made 626 appearances in the Premier League and started in 518 of those matches. He made his debut against Everton on 2 March 1991, climbing off the bench to replace full-back Denis Irwin in a 2-0 defeat.

37 - When Giggs smashed the ball into the top corner of the Benfica goal on 14 September 2011, he became the oldest scorer in the Champions League at 37 years, 289 days.

109 - Since scoring his first Premier League goal against Tottenham in a 1-1 draw on 19 September 1992, Giggs has gone on to hit the back of the net a further 108 times in the league. He has yet to score this season but netted in every other year since the start of the Premier League.

19 - Giggs's 109 goals means he is ranked 19th in the Premier League's all-time scorers list, sandwiched between Emile Heskey on 110 and Paul Scholes (107).

34 - In Giggs's time at Manchester United, he has won 34 trophies (13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, two Champions Leagues, one European Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, one Fifa Club World Cup and nine Charity/Community Shields), making him the most decorated player in English football history.

3 - Giggs has won three BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards - clinching the main award in 2009, while also winning the BBC Wales award in 1996 and 2009.

0 - He has never received a red card during his club career, although he was once sent off for Wales, against Norway in September 2001.

What they said about Ryan Giggs

Ferguson amazed by Giggs's incredible career

"I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and he floated across the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind" - Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

"He's an outstanding player and it's a privilege to be working with him on my staff. I've seen something different since I've come here - just how good he is, close up - and it's incredible" - Manchester United manager David Moyes

"Ryan Giggs for me is one of the best players in the world. Now maybe he is old but he is a fantastic player" - Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini

"Maybe one day people will say I was another Ryan Giggs" - Manchester United legend George Best

"Eric Cantona is a great player, but he's not as good as Ryan Giggs" - Dutch legend and three-time world player of the year Johan Cruyff

Giggs named Sports Personality

"Only two players made me cry when watching football, one was Diego Maradona and the other Ryan Giggs" - Italian World Cup winner Alessandro Del Piero

"I can't remember exactly how old I was but I remember pretending to be Ryan in the back garden" - Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley

"Every day of the week, every week of the year for the last 15 years he has been a top player" - Cardiff manager Malky Mackay.

Ryan Giggs's memorable moments

Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United - 19 September 1992

A sight that was to be repeated many times over the next two decades as an 18-year-old Giggs produced a classy finish against Tottenham. A defensive error allowed him to seize possession 30 yards out, before he got the better of a Spurs defender, rounded goalkeeper Ian Walker and fired home from an acute angle.

Queens Park Rangers 2-3 Manchester United - 5 February 1994

A stunning strike by Giggs as he whipped the ball away from Ray Wilkins and raced towards goal before smashing a left-foot shot past Czech goalkeeper Jan Stejskal.

Ryan Giggs

Giggs celebrates his iconic goal against Arsenal in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United - 14 April 1999

A truly memorable goal as Giggs took a leaf out of Diego Maradona's book by taking on the entire Arsenal defence. His skill and courage were rewarded as he beat four Arsenal defenders and smashed the ball past a helpless David Seaman to send United to Wembley.

Wigan 0-2 Manchester United - 11 May 2008

A win that secured United their 17th league title and fitting it was Giggs who clinched it, taking Wayne Rooney's clever pass in his stride to slide home a composed finish from 12 yards.

Manchester United 2-0 Everton - 10 February 2013

A memorable goal in that it marked one of the many milestones Giggs has achieved in his career - scoring for 23 successive top-flight seasons. Giggs scored from 12 yards via the post to set the Red Devils on the way to victory.