Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.

Valencia joined United in June 2009 from Wigan, in a deal reportedly (Guardian) worth £16 million.

Announcing his decision, Valencia posted a message on Twitter to United fans, calling them ‘wonderful’.

Valencia enjoyed a successful ten-year spell at Old Trafford, winning two Premier League titles (2011 and 2013), one FA Cup (2016), two League Cups (2010 and 2017), and one Europa League (2017)

The Ecuadorian was brought in to replace Cristiano Ronaldo on the right wing before moving to right-back later in his career.

Valencia’s decision has seen tributes pour in from former teammates. David de Gea and Rio Ferdinand were full of praise, and they weren’t the only ones.

 

Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra, Ander Herrera and Paul Scholes also had kind words for Valencia.

Evra’s message translated as: “My brother it has always been an honour playing with you. A real professional with a great heart man, even if you stay humble. Mr 50-50,”

Meanwhile, Herrera’s read: “One of the best I’ve ever played with, congratulations on that great career you’ve had and enjoy what’s coming friend!”

The deal which took Valencia from United to Liga de Quito in July 2019 included a promise that he would get a testimonial match between the two clubs in the first few months of 2020.

Those plans were put on hold by Covid, but in May 2020, he wrote on Instagram that he was still looking forward to the testimonial taking place at some point.

It would be fitting if the game formed part of United’s pre-season programme, and there is no excuse not to fit it in given that travel overseas is unlikely to be extensive.

It would also be an ideal way to celebrate fans being back allowed inside Old Trafford, to finally give a former United captain the farewell he deserves.

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