By jogging on in the 66th minute against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs made his 145th Champions League appearance—a feat no one in the history of the storied European competition has ever accomplished.
ESPN's Twitter feed provided the news:
Giggs, who has made hundreds upon hundreds of appearances during his legendary career with the Red Devils, surpassed Real Madrid's Raul.
As he was approaching the record, the Welshman had plenty of kind words for his predecessor, courtesy of Manchester United's official website:
There have been so many great players to have graced the tournament and Raul is up there as one of the very best – he has a great goalscoring record and he’s won the competition three times. If I do pass him it will be a great source of pride for me.
And a "great source of pride" it should be.
The soon-to-be 40-year-old is unarguably an all-time great. His 13 Premier League titles are the most ever for an individual player, and his success in Europe has been astonishing.
Giggs helped Manchester United to two Champions League titles. The first, a 2-1 all-time classic win over Bayern Munich in 1999, saw him set up Teddy Sheringham for the equalizer in the 91st minute. The second, a nail-biting victory over Chelsea in 2008, featured him calmly converting the match-winning penalty kick.
He also notched two UCL runner-up medals with the Red Devils in 2009 and 2011.
As Giggs' transcendent career winds down, he no longer has the speed down the sideline that once made him so dangerous. But a position switch to more of a central position has allowed him to continue to make an impact for the Red Devils—and continue to build his unbelievable legacy.
His ability to stay fit all these years and take the pitch is just as impressive as the countless goals, assists and trophies he has piled up over the last two decades.