In an exclusive interview with the official Manchester United website after completing 200 games for the club, Antonio Valencia has named former teammate Nemanja Vidic as the best opponent he has ever faced.
The Serbian international centre-back enjoyed eight successful years at Old Trafford after joining from Russian outfit Spartak Moscow in 2006.
He quickly formed a formidable partnership with now-QPR man Rio Ferdinand and the duo went on to become one of those prominent centre-back pairings in European football.
Vidic won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and one Champions League before finally ending his affiliation with the club last summer as he moved to Serie A giants Inter Milan on a free transfer.
While his ability was undoubtedly on the wane, his absence this season has been evident as a result of the Red Devils’ consistent reshuffling at the back and reliance on rookies Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair.
Vidic is still held in high regard among the playing staff and supporters at Old Trafford and such was his influence winger Valencia labelled him as his toughest opponent when quizzed on the subject.
“I would say Nemanja Vidic [is my toughest opponent], in training he was an absolute rock,” the Ecuadorian said. “But all of the defences are difficult rivals, they all have a big presence.”
Valencia was talking with the club’s official website and taking questions from United’s Hispanic following after completing a landmark 200th appearance for the Old Trafford outfit.
He is joined in the United dressing room by a number of fellow Spanish-speaking teammates, with as many as four Hispanics arriving at the club over the summer.