Soccer-Former Man United captain Valencia announces retirement

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - August 27, 2018 Manchester United's Antonio Valencia in action Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff /File Photo

(Reuters) - Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has announced his retirement from professional soccer at the age of 35.

Ecuador international Valencia arrived at Manchester United from Wigan Athletic following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Real Madrid in 2009.

Valencia made an instant impact on the right flank and helped United win two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, three Community Shields and the Europa League.

Valencia left United two years ago after scoring 25 goals in 339 appearances for the club.

"Wigan was a unique experience, and then God gave me the opportunity to join Manchester United," Valencia wrote in a statement on social media on Wednesday.

"I will never forget everything I experienced at Old Trafford, I will never forget every goal, every trophy and the wonderful fans.

"I did not think this moment would come so soon, but my body had asked me to make this decision."

Valencia left United to move back to Ecuador, to LDU Quito, in 2019 before joining Mexican side Queretaro this year.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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