Ryan Giggs has reflected on reaching 1,000 games, the Santiago Bernabeu’s appreciation, and on Manchester United and Real Madrid’s meeting this week.
The 39-year-old is set to reach an historic landmark in career appearances this Tuesday as he looks set to play a part in United’s Champions League Last 16 clash with Madrid at Old Trafford.
“I'm obviously proud of playing that many games,” reflected Giggs, at the pre-match Press conference today.
“If you set out different goals at the beginning of your career – getting in the team, staying in the team, wanting to win things, you never think that you're going to get to 1000 games.
“The secret? I've worked hard, I've had a lot of things helping me. The continuity of the manager, playing with good players. As you get older you take things in a lot more.
“For example the second Champions League that we won, I managed to take that in and enjoy it a lot more than 1999. As you get older you enjoy things a little bit more and enjoy them a little bit more.”
The United No 11 then looked ahead to Tuesday’s meeting with anticipation. The last time these two sides met at Old Trafford was in 2003, in a 4-3 win to the English.
“Every time in Europe you learn different lessons, certainly that night Madrid scoring early made it an uphill task, hopefully that won't happen tomorrow night.
“You learn from every experience in Europe. You try to get ahead and score the first goal, we know the crowd will get behind us and the confidence that will give us.
“But saying that, we know that if we go behind we have the confidence to come from behind like we have done all season.
“When you get that much firepower on the pitch, undoubtedly there's going to be chances and goals.”
Giggs was also asked of the reception he got at the Santiago Bernabeu, when Madrid fans applauded him as he came on as a substitute.
“It was strange because I was going on to the pitch and concentrating on doing well for the team and making an impact.
“I didn’t recognise it but it wasn't until after that I really thought about it, but yeah, it was great for me and I thank the Madrid fans for the welcome that they did give me. It was great.”