This applause was both admirable and begrudged after the Brazilian netted a devastating hat-trick to almost single-handedly knock United out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage. However, those sentiments were prompted by his efforts during a glorious 67 minutes, whereas on Wednesday, at the Bernabeu, Giggs was heralded for an entire career.
Remarkably, the United legend is three years older than Ronaldo, who at 36, has been retired for two years and is currently taking part in a weight-loss programme on Brazilian television. Fitness has never been an issue for Giggs and with his 40th birthday approaching, he remains as streamlined as the 17-year-old who debuted in 1991.
Obviously, questions about when Ryan will retire are repeatedly asked but after a number of virtuoso displays in recent weeks, another year looks entirely possible.
Interestingly, when quizzed on the topic during a recent ManUtd.com podcast, in which I was fortunate enough to feature, Giggs said he's yet to make a decision - but had a glint in the eye which suggested otherwise.
In truth, his future at Old Trafford is completley unknown to anybody other than himself - but to paraphrase from Marca, you should never discard the Welsh eternal.