Looking back at Antonio Valencia’s illustrious ten year career at Manchester United


Antonio Valencia has been given the green light to leave Manchester United after a ten-year stay at Old Trafford. We look back at the right back’s career at the Red Devils.

In the summer of 2009, Valencia penned a four-year deal at United. the then 23-year-old joined from Wigan for a reported fee of £16 million.

He made his debut for United a month later in a pre-season victory against Boca Juniors, which also gave Valencia a debut goal as United secured victory over the Argentine team. He made his competitive debut in the 2009 Community Shield when he came on for an injured Nani in the 62nd minute. That game United ultimately lost on penalties 4-1 handing the Community Shield to Chelsea.

Appearances for the club came thick and fast for the young Ecuadorian. On the 17th October 2009, he scored his first Premier League goal for the club in a 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers and only four days later his first goal in the Champions League came in a 1-0 victory away against CSKA Moscow.

Valencia won his first piece of silverware in 2010 and was directly involved in the winning goal. He provided an assist for Wayne Rooney to give United the victory over Aston Villa in the league cup with the game finishing 2-1 to the Red Devils and in addition, Valencia was named Man of the Match in that game.

After a very successful first season at Old Trafford, Valencia alongside with three teammates (Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher and Wayne Rooney) were included in the PFA Team of the Year as Manchester United missed on the title by a single point.

His second season started with a success as United lifted the 2010 Community Shield getting revenge on Chelsea from last season as they won 3-1 with Valencia scoring the first goal of the game. Disaster later struck. While playing in the Champions League against Rangers he suffered a break in his left ankle which sidelined the Ecuadorian for most of the season with the right-winger returning to training in mid-February.

His return was a welcome one to Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad and he netted his fist league of the goal since his return in April and days later scoring another Champions League goal in a 4-1 victory over Schalke 04 which saw the Red Devils face Barcelona in the final in 2011.

United picked up the Premier League trophy finishing nine points ahead of Chelsea. Although days later they lost the Champions League final 3-1 to Barcelona, with the only goal for Manchester United scored by Wayne Rooney. Valencia played the full 90 minutes on the right-side of midfield.

On the 1st August 2011, Valencia penned a new four-year deal that would keep him at Old Trafford. Yet again he was dealt another major injury blow. This time an ankle injury sidelined him while he was playing for his national side meaning that he would miss the pre-season and a month of the new season.

Valencia has 24 Premier League goals for United | photo credit: M.E.N.

Still, his resilience showed and he came back to play a key role for United. Valencia also received three individual awards for the 2011-12 season (Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year and for his screamer against Blackburn he received Goal of the Year.)

In the 2012-13 season Valencia was given the number 7 shirt to wear for the season scoring 11 goals across all competitions in the famous shirt.

For the 2013-14 season he got his number 25 shirt back and instantly won trophies by picking up the Community Shield once more by beating Wigan 2-0 and the Premier League trophy when United defeated Aston Villa 3-0 to capure the prestigious trophy again.

He has won many prestigious trophies in his ten year career at Mnachester United. These include:

two Premier League titles (2010-11 and 2012-13), one FA Cup win (2015-16), two League Cup victories (2009-10, 2016-17), three Community Shield medals (2010,2013 and 2016) and one Europa League triumph (2016-17).

After Micheal Carrick’s retirement last season, Jose Mourinho handed the honour to Valencia to be captain of the Manchester club. Valencia has played 338 times for the Red Devils being deployed as a right winger and then later converted into a strong, quick and athletic right back.

The 33-year-old is currently out with a calf injury, there is still hope he can play a significant role in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s charge for fourth in the Premier League and give United fans one more influencial return from injury.

Valencia had this to say at the news that he is able to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season:

“When I was a child, I never imagined travel to Europe. Thanks to God for letting me play 10 years in the best club in the world: . Now I am focused on my recovery so I can end the season playing at Old Trafford!”

Valencia may be remembered as the young, quick right winger that nobody really expected to excel at a top tier club- and being the first signing of a post-Cristiano Ronaldo era at United heaped unfair and unexpected pressure on the former Wigan man.

But with determination and improving season by season and later successfully converting to right back made him a influential force on the right side of the pitch and United fans will always love the Ecuadorian for the loyalty that he gave to the club and that in every game whether it be his first or his last he would give no less than 100%.








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EFL/EPL and F1 writer. @AdrianKitaMedia on Twitter for any comments regarding my pieces on Prost International.

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