Valencia moved to Spanish club Villarreal in 2005.[13] After failing to break into the first-team, however, he was loaned to Recreativo de Huelva to gain experience.[14] Valencia helped Recreativo gain promotion to La Liga as they finished the season top of the table.[15][16]

How to cite this article: “Ecuador: Antonio Valencia” Written by Michael Reintgen (2013), World Cup 2014, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp (accessed on (date)).

The expectations for Ecuador at the 2014 World Cup will not be sky high. They have only qualified for 3 World Cups in total, making appearances in 2002, 2006, and the upcoming 2014 World Cup. Their best finish was in the 2006 World Cup, in which they made it out of the group stages but were eliminated by England in the first round of the knockout stages. They are also one of only 3 South American teams never to win the Copa America title. [7]

Valencia received both the Manchester United fans' and players' player of the year awards, as well as the 'goal of the season' award for his goal against Blackburn Rovers.

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Jose Mourinho has been busy drawing up plans to revamp his squad ahead of a busy summer in the transfer market.

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United are a whopping 16 points off the Premier League summit with seven games remaining and travel to second-placed Tottenham on Sunday.

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The Ecuador international suffered an injury-hit campaign last season, making just 22 appearances in all competitions.

Continue on to Group E – France: Franck Ribéry

Aitor Karanka’s Riverside revolution continues apace with Middlesbrough close to making their sixth summer signing in Antonio Barragán, the Valencia full-back who will cost £3m.

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On 3 July 2011, in a match against Paraguay at the 2011 Copa América, he suffered a sprained left ankle and was forced off at half-time.[59]

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 September 2016.

[5] Nick Coppack. “Valencia injures ankle.” Written Apr. 7th, 2011. Manutd.com. (Accessed on Nov. 17th 2013) http://www.manutd.com/en/News-And-Features/Football-News/2011/Jul/Valencia-injured-for-Ecudaor.aspx

[7] “Fifa” Qualifiers: Ecuador. (Accessed on Nov. 17th 2013) http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/preliminaries/southamerica/teams/team=43927/profile.html

The converted defender went on to supply the cross from which Ibrahimovic scored his winning goal in the Community Shield and played an influential role in Wayne Rooney's strike at Bournemouth last weekend, before a strong performance once again during Friday's 2-0 win over Southampton.

Spurs are set to finish above United for the second time in three campaigns, as The Reds' struggle to compete for trophies continues in the post- Sir Alex Ferguson era.

On 30 June 2009, Valencia became Manchester United's first summer signing, having cut his holiday short to have a medical with the club. He signed a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be in the region of £16 million.[36]

How to cite this page: “Players to Watch at the 2014 World Cup”, Written by Austin Ness, Michael Reintgen, Alessandro Barel Di Sant Albano, Jun Yoon, Avery Rape, Gilda Doria, Kavin Tamizhmani, Matt Berezo, Matt Ochs, Colby Leachman, and Ramsey Al-Khalil (2013), Soccer Politics Pages, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/world-cup-2014/players-to-watch-at-the-2014-world-cup/ (accessed on (date)).

[2] Colin Young. “Antonio Valencia doesn’t wear the iconic No. 7 shirt but he has filled Christiano Ronaldo’s boots brilliantly.” Written Apr. 16th, 2010. Dailymail UK. (Accessed on Nov. 17th 2013) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1266352/Antonio-Valencia-doesnt-wear-iconic-No-7-shirt-filled-Cristiano-Ronaldos-boots-brilliantly.html

According to Turkish outlet Fanatik, Galatasaray are set to start transfer talks for the 30-year-old in the coming days.

"It'll be exciting for us as we're playing for our place in the Champions League next season. And when you're playing against opponents who are challenging for the title, in the shape of Tottenham and Leicester, they are going to be big fixtures."

The contingent of recruits is likely to increase providing Karanka can secure work permits for Borussia Dortmund’s centre-half Neven Subotic and the Uruguay attacking midfielder Gastón Ramírez.

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"I think he's going to be very important this season. He has already been very important for the club, he has already been here eight years, but I think I told you at the end of the last season something good is being cooked and everyone wants to be part of that."

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In the 2007 Copa America, Valencia scored the first goal for Ecuador vs Chile, though they eventually lost 3-2. Ecuador did not fare too well in this tournament, and finished bottom of their group. The bad string of form then continued as Ecuador missed out on qualification for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. His influence in the 2011 Copa America was very limited. He was forced off the field with a sprained left ankle and did not return for the rest of the tournament. [5]

Valencia, Antonio - Man. United (ENG)

Valencia added he is 'happy' with the operation on his foot injury that sidelined him for almost five months and he is 'fully recovered'.

Valencia provided the assist for Wayne Rooney's winning goal in the 2010 League Cup Final against Aston Villa on 28 February 2010, Valencia was named Man of the Match as United won 2–1.[41] On 25 April, Valencia was included in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in his debut season for the club alongside teammates Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, and Wayne Rooney.[42]

[12] “2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ – Matches – FIFA.com.” FIFA.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015. <http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/round=255931/match=300186515/statistics.html#nosticky>.

A report by Spanish paper El Confidencial earlier this month indicated that Valencia could be one of 12 players moved on by Mourinho.

Ramírez, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the Riverside, is keen to rejoin Karanka while Subotic’s signing – for a sum which could rise to £10m – is seen as a real coup. Neither player has enough recent international caps to meet requirements but the Premier League are supporting Boro’s applications on the grounds of the pair’s exceptional talent.

[3] Adrian Millerick. “Antonio Valencia Profile: 10 things you need to know about the Manchester United target.” Written Jun. 2nd, 2009. Mirror Football UK. (Accessed on Nov. 17th 2013) http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Antonio-Valencia-profile-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-Manchester-United-target-article31890.html

On 25 October 2015, Valencia suffered a foot injury in a 0–0 draw with Manchester City, which would require surgery and rule him out for at least four months.[49]

It is claimed the Turkish giants tried to sign Valencia last summer and have been given the green light to try again.

Previously with Manchester City, Negredo, who cost Valencia £24m and earns around £100,000 a week, struggled in Spain last season but Karanka believes he can reignite his career at Boro where he will join fellow arrivals Victor Valdés, Viktor Fischer, Bernardo Espinosa, Marten de Roon and Jordan McGhee.