Manchester United star Antonio Valencia has opened up on how he first came to the club, stating he couldn’t believe there was genuine interest in him.
The Ecuadorian was signed from then Premier League side Wigan and immediately impressed, forming an almost telepathic relationship with Wayne Rooney.
Back then Valencia was a winger but has managed to stay at United for so long by transforming himself into a full-back who was labeled the best in the league by Jose Mourinho.
The defender is one of the few remaining players from Sir Alex Ferguson’s era, especially with Michael Carrick retiring and so Porto’s Diogo Dalot has been brought in this summer.
Reflecting on how he first came to Old Trafford back in 2009, the former Villareal man explains how he was stunned to learn of the Red Devils’ interest.
According to the club’s official website, Antonio said: “I was on holiday when I heard that United were interested in me. My agent told me we had to travel over here because they wanted to speak with me and I couldn’t believe it.
“I can remember calling my mum and dad, we had a chat and they were delighted. They are moments that you are never going to forget. I think that as a young lad, I was so keen and so excited to play for the club, I didn’t even look at the figures or anything.
“The only thing I wanted to do was put on the United shirt and play for the team, so the negotiations did not last very long. I remember being in Ecuador and being really nervous.
“It was Manchester, and I had to make sure I was good enough to be at United. I had to make sure I was fit and well prepared. When I arrived I was nervous, but I was with friends who loved me and rated my ability, and who told me to relax and that everything would turn out well.”
Before turning himself into a full-back Valencia’s career at Manchester United certainly looked at threat since he was hardly getting any game time.
Though he undoubtedly still had the place necessary to play as a winger, he looked a shadow of himself as the club’s style of football changed.
Perhaps more was required of a winger in modern football than what Antonio could offer but he’s since adapted to a capable right-back.