Giggs on verge of new Champions League record
If he features for Manchester United against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, Ryan Giggs will have made more Champions League appearances than any other player.
The 39-year-old is currently level with Real Madrid legend Raul on 144 appearances in the competition (including qualifiers – Raul has played in more competition “proper” matches).
Giggs has featured in each of United’s last 20 entries into the Champions League, scoring 29 goals in the process. Only Ruud van Nistelrooy has netted more times (38) for United in the tournament.
When informed about the record by the club’s official matchday programme, United Review, the Welshman said: "Really? Wow. I didn’t know that. It’s a great competition and I’ve been lucky enough to win it twice and play a lot of memorable matches.
"There have been so many great players to have graced the tournament and Raul is up there as one of the very best – he has a great goalscoring record and he’s won the competition three times. If I do pass him it will be a great source of pride for me."
Although Raul hasn’t hung up his boots yet, the Spaniard is currently playing outside of Europe, in Qatar, so is unlikely to make any more Champions League appearances soon. The retired Paulo Maldini sits behind Giggs and Raul in third position, meaning Barcelona midfielder Xavi (136 appearances) is the nearest threat.
Giggs has made five appearances in all competitions so far this season, combining playing with his new duties as one of manager David Moyes' coaches. It's a move which has pleased another one of the club's all-time greats, Sir Bobby Charlton.
"It’s marvellous to see Ryan Giggs on David’s coaching staff," Sir Bobby said. "He’s a marvellous player, he loves the game of football and he has unbelievable talent.
"His pace, his control and his speed of thought continue to stagger me. He’s been a great, great servant here as a player and it’s terrific to see him working for the club as a coach.
"I just can’t believe he’s nearly 40. In my playing days everyone just assumed you were finished when you reached 30, but there he is, still going strong!
"As well as being a great player, Ryan is a terrific talker too, and that part of his game will be important now that he’s part of the coaching staff. It’s great he’s still linked to the club."
Most Champions League games
144 Ryan Giggs*, Raul
140 Paulo Maldini
131 Clarence Seedorf
130 Paul Scholes
129 Iker Casillas*
* still playing in Europe