Ryan Giggs is poised to reach yet another milestone in his extraordinary career on Tuesday when he is expected to make his 1 000th appearance in senior football.
The indefatigable Welshman took his tally of appearances to 999 last month with a goal-scoring turn in a 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers that helped Manchester United stay clear at the top of the Premier League.
Manager Alex Ferguson rested the player against Norwich on Saturday, which United won 4-0, extending the odds on Giggs bagging a 13th league title which would solidify his place as the most decorated footballer in the English game.
No man can compete with his 12 league titles and he has also amassed two Champions League trophies, four FA Cup titles and three League Cup winners’ medals, as well as a clutch of other prizes, in his 22-year Old Trafford career.
A willowy winger when he blazed onto the scene in the early-1990s, Giggs has refined his game in recent years and now operates more often than not as an elegant midfield playmaker.
The Welshman will turn 40 in November but last week he penned a new one-year contract which will keep him at Old Trafford until June 2014.
Teammate Rafael da Silva says the United players continue to be astonished by Giggs’s ability, as he gears up for the Champions League showdown against Real Madrid.
“He is an unbelievable player,” Rafael said.
“Every game you see him, he works hard, scores, makes assists. It is getting boring. He is just such a good player.
“He is the same in training; he just loves to play the game. He is one of the top players that I have played with. He gives us experience, confidence, and when you are feeling bad he comes and helps you, especially young players.”