Antonio Valencia of Manchester United.
Manchester Untied decided against taking up their option to extend Antonio Valencia’s career at Old Trafford by a further season on Friday.
Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia says he is focused on returning to full fitness between now and the end of the season after the club decided against activating their option to extend the 33-year-old’s Old Trafford career by a further season.
Valencia is approaching 10 years as a United player but has struggled for regular game-time this season, with persistent injuries and poor form limiting him to just eight appearances over the course of the campaign to date.
The Ecuador international, who moved to United from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2009, has featured just once under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, in the 2-0 win at Newcastle on January 2.
Valencia is set to leave the club at the end of the season and reflected on his United career to date with a post on social media.
“Lago Agrio is a very humble town in Ecuador,” he tweeted. “When I was a child, I never imagined travel to Europe [sic]. Thanks to God for letting me play 10 years in the best club in the world: @ManUtd. Now I am focused on my recovery so I can end the season playing at Old Trafford!
Valencia shared a WhatsApp message from his father at the beginning of last month in which it was revealed that the right-back, who has 93 Ecuador caps, was concerned about not being selected for his national team ahead of the Copa America in June.
VIRAL: Premier League: 10 Man United players to leave…if Mourinho stays
Solskjaer paid tribute to Valencia’s contribution to United ahead of the Reds’ game against Southampton on Saturday afternoon. “He’s not 100 per cent fit, he’s had a fantastic career here at Manchester United and in England,” the Norwegian said. “He’s one of the only Premier League winners left in the dressing room.
“It depends on if he gets on the pitch in the next few months. He’s the captain and a great servant to the club so hopefully I can get him on the pitch to show what he can do.”
Valencia has won the Premier League (twice), the FA Cup, the League Cup (twice) and the Europa League during his time at Old Trafford.