Manchester United confirm Ryan Giggs departure

The Welshman leaves Manchester United after 29 years.

Manchester United have confirmed Ryan Giggs has left the club after 29 years at Old Trafford.

The Welshman joined the Red Devils at the age of 14 and he came up through the ranks of the club's youth system, before breaking into the first team under Sir Alex Ferguson. Under United's legendary manager, Giggs had a glittering career as a player.

Following his retirement from his playing career, the 42-year-old was a part of the backroom staff during both David Moyes and also Louis van Gaal's reign. The Dutchman has been replaced by Jose Mourinho and the former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager has decided not to make Giggs his assistant.

A statement on United's official website read, "Ryan Giggs is to leave Manchester United, the club he has been with since the age of 14, to pursue his desire to be a manager."

"Giggs, 42, has played more times for the club than anyone else in history and is its most decorated player, having won every major honour in club football."

Giggs has now left United to pursue his managerial career as the former winger targets a role in the management in the future. He admitted it was not an easy decision to leave the 20-time English champions.

"After 29 seasons at Manchester United as a player and assistant manager, I know winning is in the DNA of this club - giving youth a chance, and playing attacking and exciting football. It's healthy to have high expectations, it's right to expect to win. Manchester United expects, deserves, nothing less," Giggs explained.

"This is why it is a huge decision for me to step away from the club that has been my life since the age of 14. It has not been a decision that I have made lightly. I'll take away so many special memories as well as a lifetime of experiences that will, I hope, serve me well in the future.

"However, the time feels right and, although I have no immediate plans to step into management, it is where I want to be.

"I've been extremely fortunate in having two great managerial mentors; first in Sir Alex, who I've spent the majority of my life working with and learning from and who I believe will remain as football's greatest-ever manager and in more recent times, Louis van Gaal, whose CV speaks for itself. The knowledge I have gleaned from them has been invaluable.

"I want to reiterate my thanks to the backroom staff and support teams at Manchester United I've worked with over the years. The results on the pitch are a reflection of the hard work off it. I would not have achieved the success I have without the dedication, sacrifice and commitment of these people in creating the best environment for the team to succeed.

"I want to congratulate José Mourinho on his appointment as manager of the world's biggest club. There are only a handful of proven winners at the very highest level and José is unquestionably one of them. I know the fans will welcome him.

"My final thank you is to the fans. I cannot begin to tell you how much I will miss walking out at Old Trafford in front of you. It's extremely difficult to say goodbye after 29 years. I have loved every minute both as a player and assistant manager. The support you have always shown me has been phenomenal; thank you.

"It's time for a new chapter and a new challenge. I'm excited about the future - I've had the best apprenticeship into management anyone could ever ask for."