When it comes to milestones, Ryan Giggs has notched up a few. One of the most decorated footballers of all time, Giggs has made the most Premier League appearances, the most UEFA Champions League appearances, the most appearances by a Manchester United player - the list goes on.

Now he’s about to pass another landmark when he turns 40 on Friday, two days before a potential appearance at White Hart Lane when United visit Tottenham, live on BT Sport. Should he feature, he’ll join an exclusive club of outfield players who have appeared in the Premier League at 40 which up until now includes only ex-United duo Gordon Strachan and Teddy Sheringham and Crystal Palace's Kevin Phillips.

Since making his United debut as a 17-year-old in 1991, Giggs has gone on to win an astonishing haul of silverware with the club, including two Champions Leagues, 13 league titles, four FA Cups and  four League Cups.

He’s also won the admiration of a host of fellow football greats over the course of his 24-year career and to celebrate the evergreen Welshman’s 40th we’ve compiled the best tributes from some of world football’s leading figures from past and present. Happy Birthday Giggsy!

 

"I remember the first time I saw Giggs. He was 13 and he floated across the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind." Sir Alex Ferguson

 

Eric Cantona is a great player, but he's not as good as Ryan Giggs."

Johan Cruyff

 

"If Giggs was French, Pires or myself would have been on the bench." Zinedine Zidane

 

Like Best, there is a special fantasia about him."

Fabio Capello

 

Maybe one day people will say I was another Ryan Giggs."

George Best

 

"This is embarrassing to say, but I have cried twice in my life watching a football player. The first one was Maradona and the second was Ryan Giggs." Alessandro del Piero

 

His talent is God-given. He will have wonderful skill even when he’s got his bus pass, because that sort of ability never deserts you."

Brian Kidd

 

Ryan makes you believe there is a football God."

Ron Atkinson

 

"A young Giggsy was like a ballet dancer. I had never seen a young player like that and I had seen the Busby Babes." Eric Harrison

 

I can't remember exactly how old I was but I remember pretending to be Ryan in the back garden."

Tom Cleverley

 

I think it will only be when he hangs up his boots that people will realise just how remarkable a player he is and just what he has achieved."

Rio Ferdinand

 

Ryan Giggs celebrates winning the Premier League in 1997.

 

There have been so many outstanding players I've had as team-mates, but if I had to choose I'd choose Giggsy, he can do anything."

Paul Scholes

 

I was almost in tears watching him perform."

Alan Smith

 

Giggs in action in the 1999 Champions League final

 

Ryan’s amazing. His energy, his work-rate, his passing and his movement are unbelievable. It’s a privilege to play with him."

Wayne Rooney

 

The first time I saw Giggsy, he was playing for Salford Boys against United’s apprentices. He was thin and wiry but he just glided past four of our apprentices as if they weren’t even there, then he put the ball in the back of the net. I just thought ‘This kid’s an absolute natural'."

Bryan Robson

 

One of Giggs' most famous goals came against Arsenal in the FA Cup in 1999

 

When Ryan runs at players he gives them twisted blood. They don't want to be a defender anymore."

Sir Alex Ferguson

 

He has been an unbelievable player. The only problem I saw in him is that he played for the wrong team, from my point of view. He should have played for us (Chelsea)."

Gianfranco Zola

 

Ryan Giggs scored against Wigan to seal United's Premier League title win in 2008