Ryan Giggs 40th birthday: Manchester United legend's 40 best pictures from his Premier league career

Ryan Giggs at 40

On Friday 29 November Ryan Giggs will turn 40. To mark this landmark birthday for the greatest player in Premier League history, MailOnline are celebrating Ryan Giggs Week.

Each day we will bring you big-name analysis, brilliant features and stunning pictures of Giggs' glittering career.

And what better way to kick off our celebrations than with a look at the 40 best pictures of the Manchester United legend from down the years. 

Regardless of what happens between now and his retirement, Giggs' colossal medal haul means he will always be remembered as a true footballing great.

In addition to helping United claim 13 Premier League titles, the former Wales captain has won four FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions Leagues and scored 168 goals in 951 games.

Giggs – whose exceptional professionalism explains his rare longevity as much as his positional switch from out-and-out winger to cultured central midfielder – has an ability that few have displayed before or since.

Sportsmail has followed his career since he burst onto the scene on his debut against Everton at Old Trafford on 2 March 1991. Here we remember his outstanding contribution down the years, plus the off-field behaviour that helped turn him into a footballing celebrity even before a certain David Beckham burst onto the scene.

Enjoy, and happy birthday, Ryan Giggs.

A teenage Giggs poses with Dennis Scholfield, his former manager at Deans Youth Club, the team he joined as an eight-year-old boy at the very start of his football life

The one that got away? Giggs (second right, front row) played for England schoolboys before choosing to represent Wales at senior level. Their gain was very much England's loss as the left-wing position became a consistent weakness for almost a decade. Sadly, Giggs never appeared at a World Cup or European Championships

Giggs made his full Manchester United debut in the Manchester derby on May 4, 1991 on an occasion that was memorable for more reason than one. Playing against cross-city rivals Manchester City, the promising young winger also scored his first goal for the club (via a significant deflection off of Colin Hendry) – the winning goal too

The sight of an opposition player trailing in Giggs' wake became a familiar sight as the promising winger developed. On Boxing Day 1991 Oldham goalkeeper Jon Hallworth was the victim as the Welshman scored the sixth goal in a 3-6 victory. The exciting Russian Andrei Kanchelskis, incidentally, was on the opposite wing

Giggs' talent was instantly obvious, as his former club manager Sir Alex Ferguson often pointed out. That being the case, it should come as no surprise that he quickly broke into the Wales senior team and remained there until retiring from international duty. Here he is making his debut on 16 October 1991, against Germany

One of the first bits of history Giggs made came when he became the first man to win the PFA Young Player of the Year award twice. The first was for his efforts in the 1991-1992 season and the second (above) came in 1992-1993.  Two have repeated the feat since: Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney, who did so playing with Giggs

Moscow was a city Giggs was to return to as part of United's team that won the 2008 Champions League. United's success meant that he travelled much of the globe, and here he is in the Red Square, in front of St Basil's Cathedral, the day before their 0-0 draw away at Torpedo Moscow in the now non-existent UEFA Cup

Giggs was hailed as the true successor to the late, great George Best on United's wing and here the pair enjoy a game of pool in December 1993. Best died in 2005

United legend Bobby Charlton watches on as Giggs practices taking corners in Budapest. The Red Devils beat Honved 3-2 in the European Cup the next day

As part of those travels, Giggs (wearing a quite stunning shellsuit) was to meet Nelson Mandela on United's tour of South Africa in June 1993

Another figure considered key in the develop of Giggs, as well as the other decorated members of the 'Class of '92', was Eric Cantona (right). The enigmatic Frenchman's exceptional dedication – he'd stay late to continue practicing after training – is believed to have rubbed off on Giggs, Gary Neville, David Beckham and more

So far in his career, Giggs has won 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, four League Cups and two Champions League titles. Here he is celebrating winning the double in 1994 alongside Lee Sharpe (left), Paul Ince (second right) and Andrei Kanchelskis. Sharpe later left United after failing to take the left wing slot from Giggs

Giggs with his then girlfriend, TV presenter Dani Behr, in 1994. Being part of a showbiz couple helped make Giggs a footballing celebrity and heartthrob in the early 90s

The disappointment of defeat with Wales was something Giggs had to regularly experience throughout his career. This one came away at Bulgaria on 29 March 1995 in a qualifier for Euro '96, when the score was 3-1. The closest they came to a major tournament was Euro 2004, when Russia eliminated them at the play-off stage

Giggs greets an elderly observer while taking a run through the back streets of Bolton during the filming of an advert for a Swiss watch company in 1996

Gary Neville, Giggs and Beckham get in the festive spirit ahead of Christmas in 1996 (left) and Giggs and former Coronation Street star Tracy Shaw chomp a giant bar of chocolate in 2001 (right) as they launch Cadbury as the official sponsor of the Commonwealth Games, which were held Manchester a year later

Giggs enjoys some quiet time relaxing in the garden in May 1996, while plugging long-time sponsors Reebok and football manufacturer Mitre

Prince Charles (centre) shares a word with Alex Ferguson as Giggs minds his Ps and Qs at Old Trafford in September 1997. Any guesses what the pair were discussing?

Paul Scholes joins Giggs to pose in a mock bedroom at the site of a £5million hotel development set just down the road from Old Trafford in July 1998

Leeds defender David Wetherall gets a push in the face from Giggs during United's 3-0 victory over their rivals in May 1998. Gary Kelly (centre) attempts to hold him back

Peter Schmeichel, Ronnie Johnsen, Jaap Stam, Giggs, Roy Keane and Gary Neville join presenters Philipa Gant and Mark Pearson at the launch of MUTV in August 1998

The greatest, and possibly most important, goal of Giggs' career came in one of the best FA Cup ties of all time in the 1998-1999 season against bitter rivals Arsenal. Giggs took on the entire Gunners defence before blasting his effort beyond David Seaman into the back of net. Without Giggs' goal against their excellent opposition, United's FA Cup dream may have died that night, at the semi-final stage. Instead, they reached the final and won as part of their historic treble victory

Giggs, alongside Scholes, Wes Brown, and Gary Neville, was one of four survivors from the United team that won the 1999 Champions League and was still in the squad when they next won European football's biggest prize nine years later. Now a member of United's coaching team, he's likely to be around for their next triumph, too

Arguably Giggs' greatest United performance came in the 3-0 victory over Juventus at the Stadium Delle Alpi in February 2003. Uruguayan centre-back Paolo Montero is powerless to stop Giggs scoring here as the winger ran riot in the Champions League. Giggs was brought on as a substitute in the fifth minute and scored twice

Giggs sports a radical blond hairdo while enjoying a round of golf at the Worsley Marriott in 2003 (left) and when ITV poached Premier League highlights from the BBC in 2001, they used Giggs to promote their coverage (right). The Welshman played the part of 'the cleaner' in comedian Johnny Vegas's flat in the advert

Manuel Almunia races out to challenge Giggs but can't stop the cross that led to Cristiano Ronaldo scoring in a 4-2 Premier League win at Arsenal in February 2005

Giggs leaves the field after winning his 64th and final cap for Wales. His farewell was a 0-0 draw against the Czech Republic at the Millennium Stadium in June 2007

Rio Ferdinand and Giggs lift 'the trophy with the big ears' following United's penalty shootout victory over Chelsea in the Champions League final in Moscow

It's yet another champagne moment for Giggs as he celebrates United clinching the Premier League title with victory over Wigan at the JJB stadium in May 2008

Patsy Kensit joined Giggs at the 'Batman Forever' premiere at Leicester Square in 1995 (left). Giggs married Stacey Cooke (right) in May 2011

After clinching a record 11th Premier League winners' medal in 2009, Giggs won the vote for the BBC's prestigious Sports Personality of the Year Award that December

When it was finally agreed that Great Britain would field a football team in the 2012 London Olympics, Giggs was the natural choice to be captain. Here is the midfielder in action against Brazil in a warm-up ahead of the big event. Sadly, Team GB were beaten by South Korea on penalties in the quarter-finals and failed to win a medal

You know you're a star when Usain Bolt is proud to hold your shirt. Robin van Persie and Giggs met the Jamaican sprint superstar at Old Trafford on August last year

Countdown presenter Rachel Riley receives a signed United shirt from Giggs to mark her 1,000th appearance on the Channel 4 show in June this year

Giggs promotes the announcement of a £600,000 grant from Barclays Spaces for Sports and the Football Foundation to redevelop a sports facility in Seymour Park, Old Trafford, in February 2006 (left) and samples the dish 'Pistachio Turf' at his new business venture, 'Cafe Football' at Westfield Stratford shopping centre this year (right)

Giggs played in United's 2-2 draw against Cardiff on Sunday evening aged 39 years and 360 days. His substitute appearance was not enough to stop Gary Medel (left) and co snatch a point with a late equaliser. Giggs is expected to play some part in United's next league fixture, against Spurs on Sunday, when he will have turned 40


  • Related keywords: Manchester United, Ryan Giggs, Wales