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Valencia – “The Amazonian Express”

AVOn the world stage, Antonio Valencia is unarguably the most famous Ecuadorian footballer of all time. He is the only man from his country to have played in a Champions League final and the only one to have won a pair of league titles in one of Europe’s biggest leagues. His achievements are a great source of pride for his countrymen and it is Valencia who will lead Ecuador into this summer’s World Cup as national team captain.

The honour was bestowed on him in the wake of the tragic death of his close friend Christian Benítez last July. National team coach Reinaldo Rueda felt that handing the captaincy to Valencia would bind the squad together and help push them over the line to qualification.

Valencia has rarely let his country down. Sparkling performances at under-20 level saw him parachuted into the senior team at the age of 19; he impressed immediately, scoring twice on his debut in a 5-2 win over Paraguay. He went on to star at the 2006 World Cup – where has was shortlisted for both the best young player award and FIFA’s ideal XI – and has been a fixture at national team level ever since.

The Amazonian Express, as Valencia is known in his homeland, is one of a bevy of lightning quick wingers and forwards in the Ecuador ranks. He is usually stationed on the right flank in a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation and his brief is simple: receive the ball, take on the full-back and deliver crosses into the area. His powerful forward running plays a key role Ecuador’s transition from defence to attack, while he also does his fair share defensively.Ecuador underwent a generational renewal during the qualification process, with younger players stepping in to take the places of many of those who were involved in the World Cup campaigns of 2002 and 2006. As one of six members of the current squad to have previously played in a World Cup, Valencia will have an important role to play in guiding his less experienced colleagues through the tournament.

“We have tough opponents,” Valencia said as the squad bade farewell to their countrymen in Quito. “But we have a team that is hungry for glory and the goal is to reach the next phase. We plan to make history.”

To read this article in full, purchase the RoM World Cup preview for just £4. The downloadable PDF contains articles written by experts on football in the countries our players are representing at the World Cup. If you are keen to know more about the international career of the likes of Chicharito, Kagawa, Van Persie and Mata, as well as how they are viewed by fans in these countries, and the strengths/weaknesses of these squads ahead of the tournament, then this is the preview for you. All profits to charity.

About Nick Dorrington

Nick Dorrington is a freelance football writer with articles published by the likes of ESPN, The Score, When Saturday Comes and XI Quarterly. He specialises in football in South America. Follow @chewingthecoca on Twitter.

View all posts by Nick Dorrington »



  1. Fletch™ says:

    More ROM pay per view then….

    NOT impressed!

  2. Adedayo Charles says:

    Pls do your research very well. Valencia does not play through the wing any more for Equador. He plays through the middle as one of the central midfielders as he did as recently as against Holland.

  3. gra mar says:

    Fastest thing on two legs according to the media but when is the last time we saw him fly past anyone?

  4. Imran says:

    his finest displays came when a certain paul scholes was spraying long balls to him from inside his own half, that meant that he could take on the fullback one on one. Now with Noone like paul there, valencia has to come deep to pick up the ball, that means he can no longer use his strength. I still think If you put him in a 4 3 3 and put a decent full back Behind him, He.l give the opposition a race. But that system Depends on the midfielders and that is an area of concern. Hope van gal can sort it out.

  5. MerlinUnited says:

    I’ve been following this club since the days of Hill and Coppell, and I will argue that Valencia/Young are the poorest wing-pair in the history of this club.

    Valencia are not bad, but compare him to the other’s in my life-time as Ronaldo, Beckham, Kanshelkis and you will find it difficult to defend his right to occupy the wing in United for 6-7 year’s.

  6. m09538061 says:

    @gra mar.
    Someone said the see him fly past them on his way out of old Trafford last week!

  7. Fletch™ says:

    Not impressed about it going on for some weeks.
    Might have to rename this site. It surely falls short of what it has been and what it was when I signed up.

    Needs must I suppose.
    Charity eh? Right.

  8. Scott says:

    Fletch – If you are a cancer researcher, why are you complaining about me raising money for cancer? Pompous prick? Lol. How POMPOUS of me to raise £1500 for charity.

  9. GWarwick2 says:

    Fletch – you mean spirited sod. You don’t have to pay a penny for these reviews – just like buying a book or a newspaper – you have a choice whether you want it or not. None of the writers have been paid. Scott hasn’t been paid. All proceeds to a local cancer centre. As for it going on for weeks – just scroll down – there have been plenty of threads during this time

  10. m09538061 says:

    Dipper Sterling has just got Valencia sent off.
    Fucking Scouse bastard!

  11. Dela says:

    Maybe ITV would do well to understand that maybe Valencia reacted so angrily because 1: sterling’s tackle was fairly reckless and 2: valencia knows what it feels like to have your leg snap on a pitch and perhaps that had a lot to do with his reaction…

    But instead the way clieve and andy talked about it “It was a bad tackle.. VALENCIA’S REACTION WAS WORSE, HE GOT STERLING SENT OFF”…

    no he fucking didnt!

  12. Tommy says:

    What did Fletch say? Cant be the Flertch I know o say something controversial.

    @Adedayo Charles

    He played outwide this evening mate, but your right he has played in midfield in the past. I expect Ecador to get out of the group, more to do with the poor group than their great quality, their a very athletic and workmanlike side nothing more than that

  13. Anthony C Juliet says:

    Worst winger ever alongside Young. Two shite players

  14. FBr David Lee says:


    that’s ABU at its finest.

  15. trevor knightsmith says:


    Good on you for raising money for charity

  16. wayne barker says:

    Fletch is a decent lad probably just missed the fact it was for charity
    Anyone else see the clip of Pigue talking to Blaque under his breath before a press conference that Utd have done the deal for Fabregas for 33 mill Euros

  17. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Wayne, this apparent unintentional quote from Pique also mentioned no name of the club that this supposed deal with Fabregas had been struck with. The press seem to think Chelsea is his likely destination.

  18. wayne barker says:

    Gary oh ok mate thought I’d heard on talksport that Fabregas had said the Rent Boy rumors weren’t true and he didn’t want to play for them,i must of not heard right.

  19. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Wayne, you might be right. I was only reading an article on it by the Metro which was seven hours ago. A lot of conflicting reports coming out as per usual. We will find out in the next couple of months. I will judge at the end of the window, but Woodward and the club are under pressure after all the noises coming out of the club about our apparent transfer war cheat this summer.

  20. wayne barker says:

    Gary the only reason I think there is a War chest because Van Gaal came he must have been given a guarantee money was available for players otherwise I don’t think he would’ve come.Do the Rent Boys really need another midfield player unless Maureen intends to sell some

  21. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Wayne, yea I’m sure Van Gaal wanted guarantees about the money available and we all know we need to make a few signings this summer.

    Dortmund and Chelsea have been the only quick movers so far with the signings of Immobile and Costa. It’s been very quiet so far so no need to panic. I’m kind of glad we’re not seeing the same hysteria as last summer in our public pursuits of players. I hope and I’m sure there is work going on behind the scenes.


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