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Antonio Valencia, the best Ecuadorian soccer player in history? Mario Canessa responds to Jaime Iván Kaviedes | Soccer | Sports

No Ecuadorian soccer player, while he was active, was compared to Alfredo Di Stéfano, Diego Maradona, or Lionel Messi when they were contemporaries of those players, three of the best of all time. But there is a tricolor that at the time was equated with a colossus with which he shared a time: Alberto Spencer Herrera, who due to technical virtues is related to Pelé.

French journalist François Thebaud, director of Mirror du Football, in 1966 gave his opinion of the Ecuadorian Spencer: “He is the only player who reminds me, due to his qualities and style, of the formidable Pelé. From the great Brazilian, Spencer has the same ease, the power, the incredible acceleration possibilities, the sense that allows him to dodge blows, the flawless technique. He also an extraordinary head game. His intelligence for team football is far superior to that of Eusebio”.

Albert Spencer vs. Antonio Valencia: the goals resound more

At a time when to assess the individual quality of a soccer player, analyzes of his technical conditions are not made, but rather counts of titles won, a discussion has arisen regarding Spencer’s status as the best of all time in Ecuador. If two decades ago Jaime Iván Kaviedes was included and then Agustín Delgado -now discarded- in that debate, the name of Antonio Valencia was recently added.

The Amazonian has sensational accolades that support a career few can boast: ten years at Manchester United, captain of the Red Devils, Premier League winner, Europa League champion, Champions League finalist, Alex Ferguson’s pupil. In that successful transition, the national midfielder had to become a top scorer to keep a place in the prestigious club.

Ricardo Vasconcellos Rosado: Do ​​not compare Alberto Spencer with Antonio Valencia

Kaviedes’ opinion

But was he technically better than Alberto Spencer? “For me, (Antonio Valencia) is simply the best player in the history of Ecuadorian soccer (…). I repeat: for me. Everyone will have a different opinion. Comment for yourselves who is the best (…). Always with respect.” That opinion is Nine Kaviedes, who in recent days published it on social networks.

Mario Canessa, a columnist for this newspaper and a former professional player for Guayaquil Sport and Patria, spoke on the subject. “You have to read and know the history of Ecuadorian soccer. To Kaviedes, who is greatly respected, it must be mentioned that he must read background information. In the history books of Ecuadorian soccer you will find names of other soccer players who did not have the opportunity to play in a team like Manchester United, but who had a very good (individual) level,” said the broadcaster.

Spencer achieved, and with him the name of Ecuador, universal notoriety for playing in a team that for what it did in the 1960s was considered one of the best of the 20th century: Peñarol from Uruguay. The many who made the call Man of the important goal They gave that club the Copa Libertadores de América three times and, in addition, the Ancón-born player won two world club crowns, a success that no other Ecuadorian player has been able to match.

So decisive was the presence of magic head in the Montevideo team, which for that legendary and unrepeatable era is known as Spencer’s Peñarol (a glorious denomination, on a par with names such as Alfredo Di Stéfano’s Real Madrid, Pelé’s Santos, Ajax of Johan Cruyff, or the Barcelona of Lionel Messi).

‘You have to have respect’

Canessa continues: “I don’t agree with what Kaviedes said. Spencer played on a big team. He had titles and is still the top scorer for the Libertadores (54 points). To talk about the best player, you have to do it regarding the (technical) level. I can mention Polo Carrera and Álex Aguinaga, who are perhaps on a par with Valencia, even Kaviedes himself was an extraordinary footballer. There have been (national) players with a higher level than Valencia”.

According to the former president of the National Selection Commission of the FEF and River Ecuador “the things that Spencer won and those that he did were not repeated by anyone. It is a phenomenal thing. For me he is among the best (strikers) in the world. What he achieved was colossal. At this time (his pass from him) would cost millions of euros”.

Canessa was asked if he thinks Kaviedes’ statement stems from Spencer never playing in a FIFA World Cup and Valencia playing twice (in Germany 2006 and Brazil 2014). This was his reply: “Alfredo Di Stéfano was injured and could not play in the 1962 World Cup in Chile (for Spain). There are others who are questioned for not having been crowned in the World Cup. Lionel Messi has not won it and that is not why he is not the best. Modern journalism does not look at history. You have to read it and understand it. That way we can reason better.” (D)

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