Date: 23rd December 2011 at 11:38pm
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Former Wigan Athletic winger Antonio Valencia says that the Latics have a special place in his heart, the Ecuador international spoke as he prepares to meet his old mates on Boxing Day when his current employers Manchester United entertain the Latics at Old Trafford.

Valencia was initially signed on loan by Paul Jewell in the summer of 2006 after starring in the World Cup Finals in Germany, the loan deal was made a permanent one in January 2008 when Steve Bruce agreed a fee with Villarreal and the Ecuadorian put pen to paper on a three year deal.

Standout performances attracted interest from Real Madrid, but Valencia turned down the opportunity to return to La Liga and stayed with Wigan, the club he likens to his family, but Valencia did agree to join United in the summer of 2009 and he made the short trip up the East Lanc’s Road, with a whopping £17 million coming in the opposite direction.

Valencia obviously still holds his former club close, speaking to Manchester United’s official website the 26 year old said: ‘They’ll always have a special place in my heart’

‘I came here from abroad and I was taken in as one of the family from the first day.

‘It was a real special group of players that we had in those few seasons there, and it was great to be a part of. I have only have gratitude and fond memories of my time there. I still speak regularly with Maynor Figueroa, who is a close friend of mine.

‘I do look out for their scores. I know at the minute they’re by no means out of danger, but they’re working hard and they’ve picked up some decent results recently and let’s hope they can get up there and be fighting for ninth or tenth place.’



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