telling crosses and assists was never better. In summary, the Welshman was a phenomenon as a footballer -a man to be treasured and talked about in revered tones long after his retirement.
Ryan is United's record appearance-maker of course; he surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton's 758 on the night he helped the Reds secure a third European Cup triumph - his second - in Moscow on 21 May 2008. His eventual total of 963 games for United will surely never be topped with one-club men seemingly now a breed of football’s past.
Yet United's most decorated player might never have graced Old Trafford, had it not been for Sir Alex Ferguson’s intervention. Cardiff-born Giggs was attending Manchester City's School of Excellence in his early teens, but Sir Alex made a personal visit to his house on his 14th birthday and Ryan jumped at the chance to sign for his boyhood favourites.
He turned professional in November 1990 and made his league debut in the old Division One against Everton on 2 March 1991 as a substitute for Denis Irwin. His first league start in 1990/91 also proved a memorable occasion, scoring his first ever goal (albeit via a huge deflection off Colin Hendry)