From collecting glass bottles and wearing ripped plimsolls to playing for Man United: Antonio Valencia's life story is one of grit

From collecting glass bottles and wearing ripped plimsolls to playing for Man United: Antonio Valencia's life story is one of grit
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The Ecuadorian remains one of Man United's most respected and adored players.

  • Antonio Valencia's comes from a poor family so the former Manchester United captain had to pick up bottles on the street while growing up in Ecuador.
  • Antonio's big break came at the age of 11 when a scout noticed him playing with a bunch of kids on a dusty pitch and signed the future star for a local football team.
  • Valencia quickly rose through the ranks at his new club, playing against 18-year-olds when he was 14. Two years later, he signed for Ecuadorian top-flight side El Nacional.
  • Speaking about his big break a few years ago, the Ecuadorian said: "They gave me some white adidas boots. Before then I had nothing - just plimsolls and they broke and that would be it."
  • Valencia's displays in Ecuador earned him a move to Villarreal in 2005 with the winger eventually ending up at Old Trafford in 2009. Antonio, who captained the Red Devils in his final season, is Man United's record appearance holder from South America.
Source: SPORTbible

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