When Antonio Valencia was bought by Sir Alex Ferguson in June 2009 there was always going to be a comparison made between him and Cristiano Ronaldo, whether he likes it or not – having been acquired in his immediate departure from Old Trafford.
Valencia moved to Old Trafford after having played 89 games for Wigan, scoring seven Premier League goals in his time with the Latics, while also attracting interest from clubs both at home and abroad.
It might have taken the Ecuadorian international a while to make the step up from playing at almost always half empty DW stadium and adjust to playing at a packed to the rafters Old Trafford.
At first Valencia was considered by many to be a bit part player when he first signed. However, this is not true, yes he did take a while to find his feet but now he is beginning to shine. What qualities does he bring to the table?
He offers United all the S’s – strength, speed, skill and style.
While finding the back of the net might be elusive for Valencia and he will never set the goal scoring charts alight or beat Ronaldo’s record of 42 goals in a season – he does have the knack of setting up goals for others.
His recent man of the match performance in the Carling Cup final against Aston Villa where he set up the winning goal for Wayne Rooney is testament to this. In the 42 games he has played this season he has scored seven goals and made five assists.
As I said before whether Valencia likes it or not he will always be compared to a certain Portuguese winger – Cristiano Ronaldo. And that is exactly what I have done here.
Looking at Valencia vs. Ronaldo in detail I point you towards the Guardian chalkboards which I have recently discovered. Recommended if you are looking to see a players work rate. I took Valencia’s performance against Liverpool on Sunday and compared it with the same fixture against last season which Ronaldo played in.
Both games did have contrasting results with Liverpool beating Manchester United 4-1 last season, but the Red Devils made up for that crushing defeat by winning 2-1 this time round.
As you can see Valencia’s mainly plied his trade down the right wing was intent on getting into the box. On the other hand Ronaldo was more an all-round player in the game playing on both wings and even tracking back to defend.
Ronaldo had more passes in the game – 42 in total, 30 of which were successful and 12 unsuccessful. Valencia fared better, he did only have 31 passes, but 25 of them were successful with 6 unsuccessful.
When asked about Real Madrid’s star man Valencia modestly replied with “Cristiano is a superstar and I’m Valencia, a footballer learning each day.” “I don’t desire comparisons with him as we are different players.”