London (AFP) – An emotional week in the Manchester United career of Antonio Valencia ended Friday with the announcement he had signed a new contract with the Europa League winners that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2019.
The 31-year-old winger cum full back was United’s captain as they won the Europa League — the only major trophy missing from their collection with a 2-0 win over Dutch side Ajax in Wednesday’s final in Stockholm — a match that took place just two days after a suicide bomb in Manchester killed 22 people.
Valencia also has the option of extending his deal for an extra 12 months beyond 2019 after impressing United manager Jose Mourinho this season.
“It is no secret that I had been an admirer of Antonio’s long before I joined the club,” said former Chelsea boss Mourinho. “I knew what a fantastic player he was and he has not disappointed me on that front.
“However, what I could never have imagined was what a great person he is,” the Portuguese added.
“I know I have said this before but I truly believe it is a real privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man.
“I am delighted he has extended his contract.”
Ecuador’s Valencia joined United in 2009 and has since won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, the Europa League and three Community Shields.
“Manchester United has been my life since 2009 and I am absolutely delighted to have signed a new contract,” said Valencia.
“Wednesday evening provided the one trophy this club had never won and it was a true honour for me to captain the team for the (Europa League) final.
“I would like to thank the manager for the confidence he has given me this season and I am sure that we will be challenging on all fronts next season.
“I would also like to say a big thank you to my family, my team-mates and, of course, the fans for their amazing support.”
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