Premier League legend Ryan Giggs has missed out on the chance to make his 1,000th appearance for Manchester United in their home match against Norwich City on Saturday 2 March.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson has left the 39-year-old Welshman out of his Premier League squad, apparently holding him in reserve for the Champions League visit of Real Madrid on Tuesday 5 March.
Giggs made his United debut against Everton at Old Trafford on 2 March 1991, as a 17-year-old, and his manager and mentor Ferguson paid tribute to the star, saying: "He is a marvellous player and an exceptional human being." Giggs's current team-mate Phil Jones was not even born when Giggs strode on to the pitch for the first time.
On the day Giggs made his debut from the bench, the Manchester United team sheet was: Les Sealey; Denis Irwin, Lee Martin, Mal Donaghy, Gary Pallister; Darren Ferguson, Lee Sharpe, Paul Ince, Clayton Blackmore; Brian McClair, Danny Wallace. United lost the game 0-2.
Last week Giggs signed a one-year contract extension with the league leaders, that will see him joining a select group of top flight outfield players, including Teddy Sheringham and Gordon Strachan, who played after 40.
His next appearance will be the latest milestone for record-busting Giggs, who is already the only player to have appeared in every Premier League season, is the only player to have scored in every Premier league season and is the most decorated player in English football history.
In 2012 he was named the Premier League's greatest player at its 20th anniversary awards.