Valencia's nine United seasons so far
Antonio Valencia has developed into one of the world's top right-backs since joining Manchester United from Wigan Athletic as a winger in 2009.
On the anniversary of his arrival, we're taking a look back at Valencia's United story so far, season by season...
Having turned down Spanish giants Real Madrid in favour of a move to Old Trafford, Valencia immediately became a key player for United under Sir Alex Ferguson. Antonio had notched seven goals in three seasons at Wigan and he weighed in with six goals from the right wing - including one against his former club - during an impressive maiden campaign with the Reds.
2010/11 SEASON (20 GAMES, 3 GOALS)
Hopes that his superb debut season could be replicated were dashed when Valencia suffered a serious ankle injury in United's Champions League game against Rangers in September 2010. However, he made a breathtaking return to fitness and form within six months, playing a vital role as the Reds regained the Premier League title. He later started his first Champions League final, as United were beaten by Barcelona.
2011/12 - 38 GAMES, 6 GOALS
Valencia's third season at Old Trafford was probably his best as an attacking player, with his excellence on the right wing being rewarded with a hat-trick of awards at the club's end-of-season dinner. He was voted Player of the Year by both the fans and his colleagues, and he also collected the Goal of the Season prize for a tremendous strike against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. Sadly there were to be no team honours for Antonio and co as Manchester City pipped United to the league title on the final day of the season.
2012/13 - 40 GAMES, 1 GOAL
In the summer of 2012, Antonio inherited the famous no.7 shirt, marking another step forward in his rise to prominence. Though his consistency dipped slightly throughout the course of the season, Valencia recaptured top form just at the right time, playing a key role in vital wins at Stoke City and West Ham United to help recapture the Premier League title in April.
2013/14 - 44 GAMES, 4 GOALS
The following campaign was not quite as productive for the Ecuadorian, who had reverted to the no.25 shirt, as the Reds endured a tough nine months under new manager David Moyes. While it would generally be a term to forget for the team, Valencia's season finished positively on a personal note as he signed a new contract with United and received a call-up for Ecuador's World Cup squad.
2014/15 - 35 GAMES, 0 GOALS
Another new manager meant a new role for Valencia as Louis van Gaal took charge at United. The winger’s potential to play in a defensive position was activated by the Dutchman and Antonio ended the 2014/15 campaign with 13 successive starts at right-back, admitting:
“I quite enjoy it, I’m happy there.”
2015/16 - 22 GAMES, 0 GOALS
Just as Valencia was coming to terms with his new role, he was dealt a double blow in 2015/16 with the arrival of defender Matteo Darmian from Torino and a foot injury which ruled him out for over four months. In spite of those factors, plus the emergence of Tim Fosu-Mensah, Valencia ended the campaign with a dozen starts, all at right-back. These appearances included the FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace, when Jesse Lingard’s winner stemmed from Antonio’s powerful work on the flank.
2016/17 - 43 GAMES, 1 GOAL
Guided by his fourth United manager, Jose Mourinho, Valencia was resurgent in 2016/17 and enjoyed one of his finest seasons at the club. With his transformation from winger to right-back now complete, Antonio was arguably the Reds' most consistent performer, and was named captain for the Europa League final against Ajax. The defender was later voted Players' Player of the Year by his team-mates, having won the club's Player of the Month award on three occasions during the campaign, and he signed a contract extension at the end of May to keep him at the club until at least June 2019 - the 10th anniversary of his arrival.
Valencia's Everton screamerVideo
2017/18 - 39 GAMES, 3 GOALS
With club captain Michael Carrick unable to play regularly in the team, Valencia often found himself skippering the side. He maintained his exceptionally high standards from the previous campaigns and retained his status as one of the Premier League’s best right-backs. Despite his defensive and leadership responsibilities, he still demonstrated his innate attacking capabilities and twice won the club’s Goal of the Month award, for his superb strikes against Everton in September and Stoke in January. He also made his 300th appearance for the club, in a goalless draw against Liverpool. Carrick’s retirement at the end of the campaign means Valencia is now United's longest-serving current player.
Additional reporting by Michael Plant.