English Premiership

Ecuador honors Valencia for his decade at Man United

Antonio Valencia (Getty Images)
Antonio Valencia (Getty Images)

Quito - Ecuador President Lenin Moreno presented Manchester United stalwart Antonio Valencia with the prestigious National Order of Merit medal in recognition of his decade playing for the Premier League giants.

"I've ended a wonderful period in Manchester, but now there's a difficult match ahead and I hope to play well, which is being a good father, and this is a commitment to my country's children and youth," said Valencia, who bowed out of Old Trafford on Sunday following 25 goals in 339 appearances since joining from Wigan Athletic in 2009.

"Mr president, I hope God rewards you for this acknowledgement."

Valencia, 33, presented Moreno with the shirt he wore on Sunday in his final game, in the ceremony at the presidential Carondelet Palace in Quito.

Moreno praised the "beloved" Valencia for representing his country with dignity and valor "both on and off the pitch."

He highlighted Valencia's greatest achievements, including becoming the first Ecuadoran to play in a Champions League final, in 2011, and the first to lift the Europa League, in 2017.

Signed by legendary United manager Alex Ferguson, Valencia was made captain under Jose Mourinho although he played little this season due to injury, and hardly at all under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

He won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup in 2016, the League Cup twice and the Europa League once.

He is also his national team's captain and is due to play in the Copa America starting next month.

He began his career as a right winger in 2003 at El Nacional in his homeland before moving to Villarreal in Spain two years later. He joined Wigan in 2006 before securing his dream move to United three years after that.

Known for his pace and powerful driven crosses, Valencia converted to full-back under Louis van Gaal.

The National Order of Merit is the second highest civilian award in Ecuador.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Fixtures
Sun 29 Nov 20 16:00 PM (SAST)
Southampton
Manchester United
St. Mary's Stadium
Sun 29 Nov 20 18:30 PM (SAST)
Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur
Stamford Bridge
Sun 29 Nov 20 21:15 PM (SAST)
Arsenal
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Emirates Stadium
Results
Sat 28 Nov 20
West Bromwich Albion 1
Sheffield United 0
Sat 28 Nov 20
Everton 0
Leeds United 1
Sat 28 Nov 20
Manchester City 5
Burnley 0
Logs
Team
P
W
PTS
1. Liverpool
10
6
21
2. Tottenham Hotspur
9
6
20
3. Chelsea
9
5
18
4. Leicester City
9
6
18