Football-This is my home, says De Gea after United’s 500th appearance

MANCHESTER, England: Manchester United’s goalless draw with Newcastle United on Sunday is not a game to be remembered for long, but it was a special milestone for goalkeeper David De Gea as it marked his 500th game for the Old Trafford club was.

Signed for around £18m ($20.25m) in 2011 as a 20-year-old, De Gea replaced retired goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar and over the years has made the number one shirt his own.

A four-time winner of the club’s Player of the Year award, the 31-year-old became the first non-British or Irish player to make 500 appearances for the Premier League club.

“Today was an incredible day for me, I came here from Spain 11 years ago and now I call this home,” De Gea said on Twitter.

“Playing 500 times for a club is something special, but playing for this club, the biggest football club in the world, fills me with great emotions. I want to thank everyone who has helped me along this journey, especially my family.”

In 11 years at United he has won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League, keeping 170 clean sheets. He is also the 11th player to have played 500 times for United.

Former Welsh winger Ryan Giggs holds the United record with 963 appearances in a career spanning more than two decades.

De Gea was presented with an award ahead of Sunday’s game to mark his milestone, presented by former manager Alex Ferguson, who signed the Spaniard from Atletico Madrid.

“It was the right person who gave me the award. He brought me to the club, he trusted me and believed in me,” said De Gea.

“It was great to be in a packed Old Trafford with Sir Alex and it was a great moment.”

($1 = 0.8890 pounds)