MX23RW : Sunday, June 13 18:45:20| >> :60:1349:1349:

Antonio Valencia thanks Manchester United fans ahead of exit

Antonio Valencia thanks Manchester United fans ahead of exit
© Reuters
Captain has been at Old Trafford for a decade

Antonio Valencia has thanked Manchester United's fans for their undivided support over the last decade as the outgoing captain prepares to go through a "roller coaster of emotions" when donning the red shirt one last time.

The 33-year-old has enjoyed a memorable period at Old Trafford since joining from Wigan in 2009, winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups before captaining the side to Europa League glory.

Valencia has gone from flying winger to marauding full-back during his time at a club he is now saying his goodbyes to ahead of his 339th and final appearance for United in Sunday's season finale against Cardiff.

Antonio Valencia joined Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in 2009 around the same time as Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen
Antonio Valencia joined Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in 2009 around the same time as Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen (Dave Thompson/PA)

The Ecuador international will leave the club when his contract expires this summer, ending a period of his life that he will always remember fondly.

"It means the world to me – a roller coaster of emotions from sadness to ecstasy," Valencia told Press Association Sport ahead of Sunday's match, when manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is planning a celebratory goodbye.

"Sadness because I have won everything as a player here and will miss these moments.

"Sadness too because we have suffered heavy defeats as a team but thanks to the support of the fans we have managed to lift ourselves and I have no doubt they will savour more success in the near future as they deserve.

"They have always supported me even in my darkest days with serious injuries.

"My wife and daughter and closest friends will join me in my final game.

"I hope they enjoy and savour the occasion as much as I do as their commitment and support during the past 10 years was crucial to my success.

Antonio Valencia helped Manchester United win the Europa League in 2017
Antonio Valencia helped Manchester United win the Europa League in 2017 (Nick Potts/PA)

"My message to all Manchester United fans on behalf of myself and my family is to thank you for giving me your undivided support.

"I wish them all the best for the future and that future teams provide you with great victories on the field and as much success as they can muster."

Valencia has been unable to make an impact at United this season, with the skipper making just one appearance since Solskjaer's arrival due to injury issues.

Antonio Valencia playing at Newcastle in January
Antonio Valencia playing at Newcastle in January (Owen Humphreys/PA)

But there have been plenty of times when he has starred down the years, leading him to sweep up at the club's player of the year awards in 2012 and being named Players' Player of the Year two years ago.

"I had two moments that stand out," Valencia said, reflecting on his decade at United.

"The game versus Bayern Munich in the Champions League (in 2010) and in the 20th minute we were 2-0. It was the most memorable atmosphere I experienced as a player. It was spine-tingling and incredible.

Antonio Valencia won the Alan Hardaker man-of-the-match as United triumphed in the 2010 Carling Cup final
Antonio Valencia won the Alan Hardaker man-of-the-match as United triumphed in the 2010 Carling Cup final (Tom Jenkins/Pool)

"My first piece of silverware with United, Carling Cup 2010, as I had reached the pinnacle of my dreams as a young kid in Ecuador.

"For a whole month my family and friends kept calling me elated with emotion as they had seen my childhood dreams come finally true."

But the United chapter of Valencia's footballing story will not be the last.

He is determined to help Ecuador flourish at this summer's Copa America and believes there is plenty of gas left in the tank.

"I am just concentrated in the Copa America with my nation," Valencia added.

"The success of my nation is extremely important to me and crucial as it brought me to this world and gave me the platform to whom I am today.

"This is the only thing in my mind after tomorrow's final game at Old Trafford.

"After this I will sit down with my family and advisors and give the matter thought as I would like to play for a further two, three years. "

ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'});
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '8ef97d49-1851-4c10-8dad-768a0979d9e8');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football');
ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Antonio Valencia thanks Manchester United as he prepares to leave the club'});

ID:358939: cacheID:358939:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:18415:
Restore Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Dean Henderson in action for Sheffield United on March 12, 2019
Read Next:
Sheff Utd 'want to sign Henderson, Dowell'
>
Read more about Antonio Valencia Football

rhs 2.0
Euro 2020 fixtures
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Monday, June 14, 2021
 
5pm
 
8pm
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
 
8pm
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
 
2pm
 
5pm
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
3Liverpool38209968422669
4Chelsea381910958362267
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
8Arsenal381871355391661
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
10Everton38178134748-159
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
17Burnley38109193355-2239
RFulham38513202753-2628
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!