Ryan Giggs has left his role as Manchester United’s assistant manager, ending a 29-year association with the club.
The 42-year-old made a record 963 appearances for United and had a year left on his contract at Old Trafford.
Giggs, who gained his Uefa Pro Licence in 2014, hopes to manage in the future.
“The time feels right and, although I have no immediate plans to step into management, it is where I want to be,” he said.
“It’s time for a new chapter and a new challenge. I’m excited about the future – I’ve had the best apprenticeship into management anyone could ever ask for.”
As a player, Giggs won a record 13 league titles, two European Cups, four FA Cups and four League Cups before retiring in 2014.
Giggs served as assistant to David Moyes, then Louis van Gaal, but the role now seems likely to be taken by Rui Faria, long-time friend of recently-appointed manager Jose Mourinho.
The former Wales international paid tribute to both Sir Alex Ferguson – his boss for all but one season of his 24-year professional career – and Van Gaal as “great managerial mentors”, and said it was a difficult decision to leave the club he joined as a 14-year-old in 1987.
“After 29 seasons at Manchester United as a player and assistant manager, I know winning is in the DNA of this club – giving youth a chance, and playing attacking and exciting football,” Giggs told United’s website.
“It’s healthy to have high expectations, it’s right to expect to win. Manchester United expects, deserves, nothing less.
“This is why it is a huge decision for me to step away from the club that has been my life since the age of 14. It has not been a decision that I have made lightly.
“I’ll take away so many special memories as well as a lifetime of experiences that will, I hope, serve me well in the future.”
Giggs, who hoped to take over as manager following Van Gaal’s sacking in May,backed new boss Jose Mourinho to be a success in the role.
“There are only a handful of proven winners at the very highest level and Jose is unquestionably one of them,” he said. “I know the fans will welcome him.”
Cardiff-born Giggs joined the United academy on his 14th birthday, turning professional aged 17 in November 1990 and making his first-team debut against Everton on March, 2, 1991.
He became a player-coach following the arrival of Moyes as manager in 2013, and had a brief spell as caretaker-manager following the Scot’s dismissal in April 2014,taking charge of the final four games of the season.
He served as assistant to Van Gaal for two seasons.