Liga de Quito Make Statement of Intent with Antonio Valencia Signing

Liga de Quito, who will face Olimpia in the Libertadores Round of 16, made a statement of intent by signing the former Manchester United club captain.

14 years after leaving Ecuador for Europe, Antonio Valencia is back. The 33-year old Ecuadorian returns to his homeland, joining up with Liga de Quito following 10 years with Manchester United, including an extended spell as club captain.

Valencia’s arrival coincides with the 11 year anniversary of Liga de Quito’s triumph over Fluminense in the 2008 Copa Libertadores Final, the club’s only Libertadores title, and the only Libertadores success for an Ecuadorian outfit. 

The signing of Valencia is a statement of intent by Liga de Quito who will face Paraguayan side Olimpia in the Libertadores Round of 16. Liga qualified from a tricky Group D at the expense of Uruguayan giants Peñarol on the final night of group play after tallying a 4-0 win over San José de Oruro.

During the group stage, Liga’s attacking prowess drew the headlines, with the team’s 12 goals scored the second most of any side, trailing just Palmeiras. Anderson Julio led the way with three goals scored, all coming against San José de Oruro on the final night of the group stage. 

Juan Anangonó tallied a pair of goals himself, as did the Colombian Cristian Martínez Borja. The Ecuadorian international Andrés Chicaiza also drew praise for his performances, including the go-ahead goal in a critical 2-1 win against Flamengo:

The addition of Valencia adds another quality player to an already interesting mix for manager Pablo Repetto, himself well-known for an improbable run to the Libertadores final in 2016 with another Ecuadorian side in Independiente del Valle. Valencia has spent the last few years with Manchester used primarily as a full back, but still possesses the abilities necessary to affect the game further forward on the pitch. 

His positional versatility will be an asset for Repetto, who could elect to play him further forward on the wing at points, while asking him to defend more as a traditional full back at other times. Perhaps Repetto will even deploy Valencia in both roles over the course of a single match depending on game situations. 

On the pitch, Valencia will be a strong addition to this already talented Liga de Quito team, but he will no doubt be an asset off it as well with his wealth of experiences sure to be beneficial to his side. Valencia appeared 338 times for Manchester United in 10 years, and has also collected an impressive 82 caps for Ecuador over the course of his career. At Manchester United, Valencia won a pair of Premier League titles, a trio of Domestic Cups, and a Europa League title. Those sorts of experiences will benefit Valencia massively as he embarks on the new challenge of trying to lift the Libertadores trophy in Santiago on November 23rd.

CONMEBOL Libertadores Round of 16: Liga de Quito vs. Olimpia

Leg 1: 23 July, Quito, 19:30 (ECU) 00:30 (GMT)

Leg 2: 30 July, Asunción, 20:30 (PAR) 00:30 (GMT)