Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute Ryan Giggs ahead of the winger’s 100th Champions League tie for Manchester United in Lyon tonight.
Giggs will become only the eighth player to achieve the feat, having made his tournament debut in 1994.
“That is because of his ability, his longevity and how he prepares himself – a good lifestyle,” said Ferguson.
“He has been an absolute model in his time with us. It’ll be a great occasion for Ryan and we are all proud of him.”
Giggs has managed 745 appearances for United only 13 short of Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 759 all-time appearances for United.
“It would be nice to think he could possibly break the record in the final,” Ferguson speculated, and there was a tribute from Charlton as well. “I hope he beats it. He’s a great player with a great record and, if he beats mine, I’ll be cheesed off if they don’t let me present him with something.”.
And Ferguson believes Giggs cann add to his tallly of 15 major trophies peovided he looks after himself.
“Even at 34, we expect big things from him,” added Ferguson. “Obviously, we don’t play him in every game but that’s natural for someone of that age.
“We want to play him in games that really matter to our club. The Champions League, to me, represents the biggest challenge in football.
“Footballers with real vision and real purpose in life always want to play in the biggest tournaments and Ryan has always reserved his best performances for the big occasions.
“When players are asked to be challenged in a big way, it is in European football.
“The great nights and atmosphere at Old Trafford can only happen because the right type of players are playing on that stage and Ryan has produced many great moments for us.”