Ranking Ryan Giggs' Seasons as a Manchester United Player
An entire generation of football fans has grown up watching Ryan Giggs, respecting Ryan Giggs and being lifted out of their seats by Ryan Giggs.
But on Monday, after 24 campaigns at Manchester United, the 40-year-old Welshman announced his retirement from football, writing in an open letter on the club's official website that he was "delighted" to have been appointed assistant manager to new boss Louis van Gaal.
No doubt he'll be an asset to the incoming Dutchman.
And so, with his playing days complete, we thought we'd take the opportunity to look back on Giggs' playing career, ranking each of his seasons in the following slideshow.
Ryan Giggs became a Manchester United professional just two days after his 17th birthday.
That March, he made his senior debut in the old First Division, and in May he scored his first league goal in a 1-0 derby win at home to Manchester City. One of the great careers of club football history had begun.
For the first time in his storied career, Giggs didn't score a goal in 2013-14. In fact, he featured just 12 times in the Premier League.
But his season will be remembered for his brief spell as caretaker manager in the spring when he took over from the sacked David Moyes.
Memorably, he handed debuts to Tom Lawrence and James Wilson in a May 6 match at home to Hull—a 3-1 win.
Manchester City took the title off United in the spring of 2012, but the Red Devils took the fight to the final day of the season.
Giggs managed four goals in all competitions that season, including the winner away to Norwich at the end of February—part of an eight-match winning streak.
In February 2006, Manchester United kicked off another trophy-laden era when they won the League Cup for the first time in 14 years.
Giggs, for his part, scored five goals in all competitions that season, including one of just three United strikes he would manage in the group stage of the Champions League.
Individually, Giggs had an excellent 2004-05 campaign. He scored five Premier League goals and eight overall and also tallied three times in six matches for Wales.
At club level, however, United failed to win a single trophy.
Giggs' first full season at Manchester United was a raving success.
He scored four times in the old First Division as the Red Devils finished four points back of Leeds, and his extra-time winner against Middlesbrough in the League Cup put United into the competition’s final, which they won against Nottingham Forest.
Giggs' 2010-11 campaign was shortened to just 25 matches, but he still found the back of the net for the 21st season on the bounce when he scored against Newcastle on the first day of the season.
The following spring United would finish nine points clear atop the standings.
Chelsea took the Premier League title from United in 2009-10, but Giggs still scored five goals as the Red Devils finished second in the table. He was also instrumental in the club's fourth League Cup triumph.
Manchester United conceded the title to Chelsea in 2003-04 but not through any lack of effort on the part of Giggs.
The Welshman scored seven times in the Premier League that season and played in a career-high 47 matches in all competitions.
Giggs captured his 13th and final Premier League title as a 39-year-old in 2012-13.
His two goals in the campaign came in back-to-back appearances in February when he scored against both Everton and Queens Park Rangers.
Manchester United won three successive titles in two different spells during Giggs' time as a player at Old Trafford.
The first run of three was completed in 2001 when the winger contributed five goals to the cause.
The 1996-97 Premier League title was Manchester United's third in four seasons. Giggs was limited to just 26 matches but scored three times—including in back-to-back January wins away to Coventry and at home to Wimbledon.
Manchester United retained the title in the spring of 2000, and over the course of the 1999-2000 campaign, Giggs scored six Premier League goals.
Perhaps his two most important tallies came in an important 4-2 win away to West Ham to kick off the congested Christmas period.
Giggs' Premier League season was limited to just 25 matches in 2001-02, but he still managed to score seven times in the English top flight—one of the best goals-per-game ratios of his career.
Arsenal won the title that season, but the United winger was named in the PFA Team of the Year.
Manchester United got off to a flyer in the early weeks of the 2006-07 season as they looked to regain the title following a four-year drought.
Crucially, Giggs scored the match winners against both Watford and Spurs as the Red Devils set a pace that would never be caught. Eight months later, they were champions.
Although he brought pace and power, Giggs could also influence matches subtly—without necessarily scoring goals.
In 2008-09 he scored only twice in the Premier League, but his overall play earned him the adulation of his peers, who named him PFA Player of the Year.
Manchester United's attack terrorized opposition defences in 2007-08, what with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez leading from the front with Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Giggs supporting them from out wide.
The club finished the season having won both the Premier League and Champions League, and Giggs delivered the Red Devils' third European Cup with the decisive penalty against Chelsea in the Moscow final.
By the late summer of 2002, Giggs was preparing to play his 13th professional season. A seasoned veteran, he showed no signs of slowing down—bagging eight Premier League goals and 14 overall.
United also won the title the following spring.
Only twice (in 2003-04 and 2008-09) would Giggs play as many matches in a season as he did in 1992-93—his second full campaign with the Red Devils.
It also happened to be the first running of the new Premier League, and the Welshman found the back of the net nine times in the English top flight.
He'd go on to score in each Premier League season until 2013-14. More importantly, however, United won the title that spring.
United did another double in 1995-96, and Giggs scored 11 times in the Premier League (including four in the final six matches of the season) and one of the goals in a 3-0 victory over Reading in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Individually, the 1993-94 campaign was Giggs' best. He scored 13 times in the Premier League that season and 17 overall as United did the double. He was also named Premier League Player of the Month for September.
Giggs' slalom run through the Arsenal defence in the semi-final of the 1998-99 FA Cup will no doubt be remembered as one of the winger's most iconic moments.
But he also scored 10 goals in all competitions that season, including five in the Champions League—one of which produced a 1-1 draw at home to Juventus as United went on to win the treble.