Ryan Giggs has announced his retirement from playing football at the age of 40. The Manchester United and Wales legend confirmed his decision to quit playing after 24 years. He will now become United's assistant manager, after Louis van Gaal was also confirmed as manager earlier today (May 19).
Giggs is the most decorated player in the English game, winning 13 league title, four FA Cups and two Champions League trophies, among others.
In a statement, Giggs said: "Today is a fantastic day for Manchester United. Louis van Gaal is a great appointment and let me begin by telling you how delighted I am to be working with someone of his calibre. His credentials are second to none and I'm positive the club will thrive under his leadership over the coming years.
"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, and 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."
He continued: "I want to also give a huge thanks to the backroom staff and support teams we have and have had at Manchester United over the years. I would not have achieved the success I have without your continuing dedication and commitment to creating the best environment to enable the players to thrive.
"I would not have won 34 trophies in my career without you. I would also like to say a special thanks to my friends and family for all your love and support."
He ended his open letter by stating: "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.
"To the greatest fans in world football, thank you. I have loved every minute of playing for you and representing the biggest and best club in the world."
Ryan Giggs was appointed interim player-manager at the end of the 2013-14 season, following David Moyes's sacking.
He was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2009.