Manchester United's Ryan Giggs said he will know when it is time for him to finally hang up his boots but is shrugging off talk of retirement in the meantime.
The midfielder, who made his debut for the club as a 17-year-old in 1991, will celebrate his 40th birthday on Friday and is eager to carry on playing.
And Giggs, who shone in Wednesday’s 5-0 Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen, said that there is always another challenge to keep him motivated as he extends his record-breaking career.
He told the Manchester Evening News: “People asking me about retirement is not new and you just get used to it. I understand that. It is part and parcel of getting older.
“There is an ageism thing in sport but I just take it as a challenge. I will know myself when it is time”
The Welshman could have given his career a happy ending if he had bowed out in the summer of 2008 when he broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s United appearance record and converted what proved the winning penalty in the Champions League final shootout victory over Chelsea.
He added: “I remember someone saying that Moscow in 2008 would have been the ideal time to retire. They were not saying it in a nasty way but they were just suggesting it would have been a perfect time to go.
“That was five years ago. I would have missed out on two further Champions League finals as well as winning three league titles. I like to think I have contributed in those great times since.”
Giggs, who made his 953rd United appearance against Leverkusen, said he never considered retiring in 2008.
“No chance,” he added. “I didn’t even think about it to be truthful. Nobody had ever won the Champions League twice in succession and with the team we had, we could quite easily have done it. We did get to the next final but Barcelona beat us but that challenge was there and it keeps you going.
“There is always a challenge. There is always something to keep you going."