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Former Man Utd star Antonio Valencia announces retirement, Football News

Antonio Valencia, the former captain of Ecuador and Manchester United, announced his retirement from football on Wednesday.

Antonio Valencia, the former captain of Ecuador and Manchester United, announced his retirement from football on Wednesday

The 35-year-old had been dealing with a long-standing foot problem while playing for Queretaro in Mexico.

“I’m ending my career in Queretaro,” he wrote on Twitter. “I didn’t think this moment would come so soon, but my body has asked me to take this decision.”

Valencia injured his foot for the first time in the Manchester derby in 2015.

He was at United for a decade, from 2009 to 2019, and when Michael Carrick retired in 2018, he was appointed club captain.

Valencia began his career as a dashing and explosive right winger before transitioning to full-back.

After winning the Ecuadorian league in 2003, he joined Nacional de Quito before transferring to Villarreal in Spain in 2005.

A year later, he moved to Wigan Athletic, where he attracted the attention of former United boss Alex Ferguson.

Valencia joined United in 2009 and has since won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the Europa League, and the League Cup twice.

“I was able to travel to Europe, something I would have never dreamed of,” added Valencia.

“I played for Villarreal and Recreativo de Huelva (on loan) to then arrive in my second home: England.

“Wigan was a unique experience and then God gave me the opportunity to arrive at Manchester United and be captain.”

In 2019, he returned to Ecuador to join Liga de Quito, the only Ecuadorian team to ever win the Copa Libertadores (2008) and Copa Sudamericana (2009), the Champions League and Europa League, respectively.

Valencia moved to Queretaro a year later, when the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on South American club football competitions.

He played 99 times for Ecuador, scoring 11 goals, and was a member of the national team at the 2006 and 2014 World Cups, as well as four Copa America tournaments.

In 2019, he received the National Order of Merit.

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