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02/05/2013 07:56, Report by Gemma Thompson

Key men: Giggs

“Ryan is Mr Manchester United.” Michael Carrick hit the nail on the head following the recent announcement that the Reds’ no.11 had agreed a new one-year deal, ensuring he will play at the highest level beyond his 40th birthday.

After being eased into the season by his manager, Ryan’s influence grew in tandem with United’s advantage over City at the top of the table. The 39-year-old showed he can still chip in on the goal front too; his opener against Everton not only extended his top-flight record of scoring in every Premier League season, it set United on their way to a vital win following a City slip-up.

The fact the Welshman has had such an effect on games from both a central and wide position is testament to his fitness, unerring quality and desire which burns as bright as ever 22 years on from his debut.

Champagne moment: The Champions League last 16, second leg clash with Real Madrid will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons, but it will always remain a significant night in Giggsy’s career after he completed the 1,000th competitive match of his career. The fact he was the best player on the pitch, ahead of Ronaldo et al, only makes the achievement all the more staggering.

Season in three words: Defying belief. Still.

More: Visit the Champions 2013 section