Antonio Valencia

Antonio Valencia is a professional footballer who currently plays for the reigning Premier League champions Manchester United and represents his native Ecuador at international level.

Born in an impoverished region of the country, the young Antonio showed signs of his prodigious talents at a very young age and was snapped by El Nacional, one of the most famous clubs in the country where he played through the youth ranks and progressed to make his professional debut for the club.

He played in over 80 league matches for the club before his form earned him a dream move to Spanish side Villarreal in 2005. The Yellow Submarine was one of the best teams in Spain at that time and boasted of a star studded team and the young Ecuadorian failed to make an impact on the manager, and was sent on a loan spell to Recreativo Huelva. He returned from Huelva before being sent out on loan to Premier League club Wigan Athletic where Antonio Valencia became one of the stars in a very mediocre side that managed to maintain its status in the Premier League.

According to the soccer blog, Wigan quickly exercised a clause in the loan deal that enabled them to buy the player and having made the switch permanent, Valencia came good for the club and was the stand out performer for the club in the two seasons he was there. In the summer of 2009, Valencia made a big money move to champions Manchester United, where he was brought in as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who had left to join Real Madrid.

His first season at United saw him finish with a runners-up medal as The Red Devils finished behind Chelsea and Antonio Valencia has gone on to win two Premier League winners’ medals since then, having been a key player in the sides.