With two games left in Manchester United's 2018/19 season, club captain Antonio Valencia's final days at Old Trafford have arrived.
After not having his contract renewed for next campaign, both Valencia and new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have confirmed he'll be playing elsewhere starting this summer.
However, Valencia has made it more than clear in a recent radio interview he's got no ill will toward Solskjaer or the front office, with his love for the club still firmly intact.
“It’s been an incredible time with a lot of happiness,” Valencia said. “I’m happy with everything we’ve accomplished with the team.
"The trophies and living incredible experiences. It’s been a dream for me because when I was at Wigan, my first year I didn’t think about it, but my second year I told myself I wanted to play with a big club that can win titles. Thank God I had the opportunity to realise that dream. I’m very thankful for Manchester United and all the fans."
In the interview with Ecuador's Mundo Deportivo, the Man Utd skipper admitted he's been battling a left calf injury since January. He last played for the Red Devils on 2 January, which resulted in a 2-0 win.
He was able to play for the Ecuador national team against the USA on 21 March, but he also experienced calf issues during the match. Now, though, he says he's fully healthy and has his heart on taking the pitch at Old Trafford on 12 May against Cardiff City to close out the year.
“There’s a time when a player has to say thank you and realise this is where your moments and opportunities with a team must end,” Valencia said. “You’ve got to give space to the young guys playing behind you. The manager and the directors made their decision and I respect it.
“I haven’t decided where I’ll play next yet. I’m waiting to finish things off the right way with Manchester United and play one more game with the team so I can applaud the fans, who have treated me marvellously. I want to tell them thank you. Then after that I’ll see what opportunities I have to play for another team.”
When Valencia's time at Old Trafford does end, he'll leave the club with well over 300 appearances to his name. Don't forget about his two Premier League titles and Player of the Year honour in 2011-12.
Though he of course wishes his days with the club aren't about to come to an end, the humble Ecuadorian praised Solskjaer for how he handled the situation.
“I always wanted to retire with Manchester United,” Valencia said. “It was the decision of the manager and the directors. I’m honestly very thankful with the manager for always being sincere with me. Now I’ve just got to look forward to what’s next.”
Source : 90min