Valencia, the Ecuador captain, requested interim manager Sixto Vizuete not to select him for the meetings with Bolivia and Brazil, claiming he was “still recovering from the physical and mental exertions” of the World Cup and a return to club football.
Ecuador were still able to record a convincing victory over Bolivia at the weekend, triumphing 4-0 at the Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, but it would appear that, despite the result, fans were still reeling from Valencia’s decision.
The 29-year-old was the recipient of so much criticism after the game that he took the decision to remove himself from Twitter, and his handle remains unavailable on the social networking site.
There is, however, another angle to this story besides Valencia’s supposed exhaustion. It is reported by Juan Arango in the Miami Soccer Examiner that the player’s decision to remove himself from international duty may have been related to an internal rift in the squad.
After the World Cup there were reports about an apparent 'scandal' in the Ecuador ranks over bonus money earned for their appearance in the tournament. It was claimed that there was no even distribution of the bonus money, rather Valencia as well as Frickson Erazo and Walter Ayovi were given the majority.
Valencia, of course, was also sent off twice in four appearances for Ecuador over the summer, with the first red card received in a friendly with England and the second coming in the final group game of the World Cup against France. It is, then, fair to say that he is not a fan favourite in Ecuador right now.
There have been suggestions that Valencia is considering his international future, although Sixto Vizuete has rejected the assertion that he has already been informed of the player’s decision to retire from representing his country.
"I have spoken several times to him [Valencia] and he has not told me that," Vizuete said when asked if Valencia has retired.
"I do not think he will make that decision because he is a man who the [international side] wants and needs. He must prepare to represent the country."
Manchester United duty
Despite these international concerns, Valencia is expected to be available for Manchester United when club duties are resumed this weekend.
Newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers are the visitors to Old Trafford and this already has the feeling of something of a must win game for Louis van Gaal with Manchester United having endured a poor start to the campaign.
With just two points taken from their opening three Premier League games, and a humiliation inflicted by MK Dons in between, there is a desperate need for a victory in order to get this fledgling campaign back on track.
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