On Friday, Antonio Valencia captained Ecuador to a 2-1 victory over Honduras, keeping the team’s dream of getting to the knockout stages alive. And on Saturday, Manchester United announced that the winger put pen to paper on a new contract, keeping him at the club until 2017.
My time at Manchester United has been like a dream come true. To be the first Ecuadorian player to win the English Premier League was a very proud moment for me and for my country. I am so happy to have signed a new deal and am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal. There is great team spirit within the club and we are all determined to get back to winning ways.
The 28-year-old has been at United for five years, having moved from Wigan in 2009. In his first season, the Red Devils lifted the League Cup, then went on to win the Premier League title in 2010-2011 and 2012-2013. The 2011-2012 season may be considered the highlight of Valencia’s career with United, however: he won the Players’ Player of the Year award, the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award (voted on by the fans), and the Goal of the Year.
In 2006, Valencia played a pivotal role in guiding Ecuador to the knockout stages of the World Cup. He’ll be hoping to guide his team there once again, but they’ll almost certainly have to beat Group E leaders France to get there. Ecuador’s final group stage match is on Wednesday, June 25 at 4 p.m.