Thursday, August 4, 2011

Antonio Valencia

Luis Antonio Valencia Mosquera (born 4 August 1985), commonly known as Antonio Valencia, is an Ecuadorian footballer who currently plays as a winger for Manchester United and the Ecuadorian national team.

After progressing through the youth system at El Nacional, Valencia became a first team regular and made over 80 appearances for the club before signing for La Liga side Villarreal CF in 2005. He only made two league appearances for the Spanish side in between successful loan spells at Recreativo de Huelva for the 2005–06 season and later English Premier League club Wigan Athletic from 2006 to 2008

Luis Antonio Valencia
Wigan later signed Valencia on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee in January 2008. His performances for Wigan soon attracted attention from several high profile clubs and he turned down a move to Real Madrid before signing for Manchester United in June 2009. Valencia has since won the 2009–10 Football League Cup, the 2010 FA Community Shield, and the 2010–11 Premier League during his time at Manchester United, along with being voted into PFA Team of the Year in his debut season.
Valencia made his Ecuador debut in 2005 and scored two goals in the process. He represented his country at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 Copa América. Since making his debut, Valencia has won 44 caps and scored six goals for his country
Valencia was born on 4 August 1985 in Nueva Loja, also known as Lago Agrio, Ecuador, which is located in the Amazon Rainforest. Valencia helped his mother sell drinks outside the stadium of his local club at Lago Agrio and would then search for empty bottles for his father to sell to a bottle-deposit in the capital, Quito.Valencia used to play barefoot on the pitch next to the bungalow he shared with his parents, five brothers and sister.
When Valencia was aged 11, scout Pedro "Papi" Perlaza spotted him playing on a dusty field near his home, and signed him to the local FA-run sports academy in Sucumbíos. At the age of 16, Valencia didn't tell his father he left home to take up an offer to play for El Nacional, the military-backed club in Quito. Nobody knew about Valencia’s decision, except his mother and his elder brother, Carlos Alfredo, who paid the fare for his eight-hour bus journey. Valencia began in central midfield and on a salary of 50 dollars a month.
Valencia started his career at El Nacional and within a year, he was fast-tracked into the Under 20s, where he played alongside striker Christian "Chucho"’ Benítez and scored 20 goals in 84 matches. Valencia made his debut for El Nacional alonsgside his idol Édison Méndez. Valencia moved to Spanish club Villarreal in 2005. After failing to break into the first-team, however, he was loaned to Recreativo de Huelva to gain experience. Valencia helped Recreativo gain promotion to La Liga as they finished the season top of the table.
On 3 August 2006, Valencia joined English Premier League club Wigan Athletic, initially on a year long loan deal. He made his debut for Wigan on 19 August, in a 2–1 loss away to Newcastle United. His first goal for Wigan came in a 4–0 home win over Manchester City on 21 October. Valencia returned after a three-month absence as he played 78 minutes of a 2–0 home loss to Everton on 21 January 2007. Valencia was sent off for the first time for Wigan on 9 April, receiving a straight red card for a two-footed challenge on Wilfred Bouma during a 1–1 away draw against Aston Villa. Valencia ended his first season with one goal, one assist and one red card in his 22 appearances.

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