Over 20 years since his debut, Manchester United FC's veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs has now racked up more UEFA Champions League appearances than any other player.
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Manchester United FC midfielder Ryan Giggs has passed Raúl González as the leading appearance maker in the UEFA Champions League.
Giggs came on after 66 minutes against FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Group A on Wednesday for his 145th appearance – qualifying included – in Europe's premier club competition. The 39-year-old former Welsh international made his first-team debut in March 1991 and his UEFA Champions League bow more than 20 years ago, in September 1993.
He has since gone on to lift the trophy twice, most notably in 1999 when United came back from the brink to defeat FC Bayern München in the final. Giggs was a used substitute in the 2008 showpiece and scored the winning spot kick as United beat Chelsea FC in a penalty shoot-out.
"There is no secret [to my longevity] – you just have to work hard and I am lucky to play for a great club with good players and it means a lot to me," said Giggs after the 1-1 draw at the Donbass Arena.
"It [the UEFA Champions League] is the pinnacle of European football and to overtake someone like Raúl [González], who is a legend in the game, is pleasing. It was just a shame we couldn't get the victory, but it was a hard-fought draw and we will take that."
Former Real Madrid CF and FC Schalke 04 striker Raúl still leads the way for UEFA Champions League group stage to final appearances. Giggs is seven games adrift in second.
Most UEFA Champions League appearances (qualifying included)
Ryan Giggs 145
Raúl González 144
Paolo Maldini 140*
Xavi Hernández 139
Clarence Seedorf 131
Iker Casillas 131
Most UEFA Champions League appearances (group stage to final)
Raúl González 142
Ryan Giggs 135
Xavi Hernández 133
Iker Casillas 129
Clarence Seedorf 125
* Includes European Champion Clubs' Cup appearances