Manchester: Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia called time on a 20-year long career on Wednesday, exactly two years to the day since his last Reds appearance.
The Ecuadorian star signed from Wigan Athletic in 2009 and won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, three Community Shields and the Europa League.
Valencia memorably won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, Goal of the Season and Players’ Player of the Year awards in the 2011/12 season. He also received the latter in 2016/17.
“To Manchester United fans. At the age of 14, as a child, I left my family, my village and first team to travel to the capital of my country. I travelled with a lot of nostalgia but full of hope,” Valencia said in an official statement on Twitter.
“A few years later, I was able to travel to Europe, something I had never dreamed of. I played in Spain, and then came to my second home: England. Wigan was a unique experience, and then God gave me the opportunity to join Manchester United. I will never forget everything I experienced at Old Trafford. I will never forget every goal, every trophy, and the wonderful fans,” he further said.
“I did not think this moment would come so soon but my body has asked me to make this decision. I am announcing my retirement from football. I want to thank everyone who has been part of my career and my life. God in the first place, for always blessing me. Zoila and my daughter Domenik, who have been my pillars. My parents for giving me so much. To the fans of all the countries where I have played. I always tried to give my best. Thank you for your affection and support,” Valencia added.
Tony V, as he was affectionately known, eventually left United on this day in 2019 with 339 appearances and 25 goals to his name, plus the love and respect of United fans around the world. He returned to Ecuador LDU Quito and has now ended his career with Mexican side Queretaro.