Former Manchester United mainstay Antonio Valencia has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35, two years to the day since his last appearance for the team.
The former Ecuadorian international of 99 caps made 339 appearances and scored 25 goals for the Red Devils in all competitions in ten seasons at the club, winning nine trophies during that span.
In that decade he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, as well as a Europa League trophy, and Valencia paid heartfelt tribute to United fans for their support during his time at Old Trafford.
Manchester United icon Antonio Valencia (right) has announced his retirement from football
Valencia paid heartfelt tribute to United fans for their support during their time at Old Trafford
A statement from his social media account read: “To the Manchester United fans.
“At the age of 14, as a child, I left my family, my village and my first team to go to the capital of my country. I traveled with a lot of nostalgia but full of hope.
“A few years later, I was able to travel to Europe, which I had never dreamed of. I played in Spain, then I came to my second home: England. Wigan was a unique experience, then God gave me the opportunity to join Manchester United.
The Ecuadorian dominated the Red Devils in their Europa League final victory over Ajax in 2017
I will never forget everything I experienced at Old Trafford. I will never forget every goal, every trophy and the wonderful fans. I didn’t think this moment would come so soon but my body asked me to make this decision.
“I am announcing my retirement from football. I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my career and my life. God first, forever bless me.
“Zoila and my daughter Domenik, who were my pillars. My parents for giving me so much. To fans from all the countries where I have played. I have always tried to give the best of myself. Thank you for your affection and support.
Valencia, now 35, have won nine trophies during his ten-year stint in Manchester training
Valencia – who have spent this season with top Mexican side Queretaro, making 15 appearances – moved to Manchester from Wigan for around £ 16million in 2009 to replace linked winger Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid.
His athleticism, determination and never-say-die attitude won him over to fans and teammates alike, and he won Player of the Year, Player of the Year and Goal of the Season in 2011. / 12, again winning the latter award five times. years later.
He was team captain when they won the Europa League against Ajax in 2017 and became club captain when Wayne Rooney left that summer.