“One of the most humble men I know.”
Wayne Rooney has led the tributes to former Manchester United player Antonio Valencia following his retirement.
Valencia mentioned his former club in a long heartfelt statement released on social media on Wednesday night.
Ex-Man United players pay tribute to Antonio Valencia.
Valencia, 35, spent 10 years at Old Trafford and helped the Red Devils win two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the Europa League and two League Cups. He left Man United to join LDU Quito in his native Ecuador in 2019 and hangs up his boots after a spell with Querétaro in Mexico.
Valenica was evidently a popular member of the Man United squad, with several of his ex-teammates, including Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Robin van Persie and Paul Scholes, paying tribute to him.
“Congratulations on a fantastic career @anto_v25. Brilliant on and off the pitch. Great team-mate. Good luck in the next chapter,” Rooney tweeted.
“What a career, what a player, what a man. One of the most humble men I know,” Ferdinand tweeted.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) May 13, 2021
“Painfully shy but always made me smile with how shy he was! What a professional too, always doing extra training in the gym [so he could look like me]. Pleasure to play with you. Enjoy retirement Tonio.”
“Congratulations on a brilliant career @AontionValencia2525. Absolutely loved playing and sharing a dressing room with you. All the best for the future,” Paul Scholes said in an Instagram post.
“Happy retirement my friend. Was a joy to share the pitch with you. What a brilliant player and person you are,” Robin van Persie tweeted.
What a career, what a player, what a man….One of the most humble men I know. Painfully shy but always made me smile with how shy he was!
What a professional too, always doing extra training in the gym (so he could look like me)
Pleasure to play with you. Enjoy retirement Tonio pic.twitter.com/f3QBxv6C99
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) May 12, 2021
Antonio Valencia statement.
“To Manchester United fans, at the age of 14, as a child, I left my family, my village and first team to travel to the capital of my country. I travelled with a lot of nostalgia but full of hope,” Valencia said in his statement announcing his retirement.
“A few years later, I was able to travel to Europe, something I had never dreamed of. I played in Spain, and then came to my second home: England.
“Wigan was a unique experience, and then God gave me the opportunity to join Manchester United. I will never forget everything I experienced at Old Trafford. I will never forget every goal, every trophy, and the wonderful fans.
“I did not think this moment would come so soon but my body has asked me to make this decision. I am announcing my retirement from football.
“I want to thank everyone who has been part of my career and my life. God in the first place, for always blessing me. Zoila and my daughter Domenik, who have been my pillars. My parents for giving me so much.
“To the fans of all the countries where I have played. I always tried to give my best. Thank you for your affection and support.”