Enner Valencia: A Man for Big Occassions
Enner Valencia's double help Ecuador rode past Qatar in the opening game of Qatar WC 2022.
The whole world’s attention turned towards this man. Enner Valencia put the ball into the back of the net following a mistake from Qatar GK Al-Sheeb. After a minute of checking, the goal was disallowed by VAR. But the deadlock remained only for 10 more minutes. Mendez’s through-ball and Valencia’s run combined wonderfully and once again Al Sheeb’s mistake in the form of a foul play gave Ecuador a penalty kick.
No one in that team was more deserving than Valencia to take the kick. Valencia, the top scorer of Ecuador with 37 goals in 75 games, was always at the forefront of the team at the big stages. He put the ball into the right bottom with ease and sealed his name for the first goal in the 2022 world cup. In the 31st minute, for the second time, Valencia scored for his nation with a beautiful header and made a record of the first Player to score five consecutive goals for a South American nation and the first player to score the first two goals in the world cup finals tournament.
That was Valencia’s 5th goal in the world cup and his 37th for the nation which is 13 more than the goals of the rest of Ecuador’s starting 11. In the 2014 world cup Valencia was the only goal scorer for Ecuador scoring their only goal in a 2-1 loss against Switzerland and 2 goals in a 2-1 victory against Honduras. Valencia performed well against France too in a goalless draw. Even though Ecuador hasn’t survived the group stage, Valencia’s performance in the world cup got the attention of many European clubs.
Ecuador was always on Enner Valencia’s shoulder. In 2015 Copa America Valencia scored 2 goals, one against Bolivia and another one against Mexico. Ecuador couldn’t qualify for knockouts that season. But in Copa America Centenario 2016, once again we saw what Enner Valencia can do. Despite being in one of the toughest groups in that tournament with Brazil, Haiti, and Peru, Ecuador started their campaign with a goalless draw against Brazil.
In their second match against Peru, Peru scored 2 goals within 15 minutes and Enner Valencia was the man who rose to the situation and scored Ecuador’s first goal. Match ended 2-2 draw and in the Next match against Haiti Valencia Strikes again in a 4-0 victory. Valencia’s contributions led the team to Knockouts and then knocked out by the USA in the quarter-finals. He also scored in the 2019 Copa America against Chile and has scored 8 goals for Ecuador in World Cup qualifiers in different years.
Looking through the club career Valencia spent most of his career playing outside of Europe. He started his career at CS Emelec, an Ecuadorian club. He scored 33 goals in 171 appearances for the club, became a vital part of their title-winning season in 2013 and also won the top scorer award in Copa Sudamericana by scoring 5 goals in the same season. He then moved to Liga MX in the 2013/14 season, the Mexican league where he played only one season at CF Pachuca and won the golden boot award there. Valencia scored 18 goals in just 23 matches in Liga MX and continued his form in the same year’s World Cup.
His performance in Pachuca and for Ecuador made Westham bid for him. He played 2 seasons for West Ham from 2014-2016 and only scored 10 goals in 68 appearances for the club. In the 2016/17 season, West Ham loaned him to Everton and he couldn’t find his goal-scoring boot there either. He only scored 3 goals in 23 appearances for Everton. When his career began to move down a little bit Valencia moved back to Liga MX where he played for Tigres UANL for three seasons. 2017/18 was his best season there and went on to score 15 goals in 37 appearances in the league, Tigres won the league and Campeones Cup in that season.
Valencia won the Liga MX Apertura player of the year in the title-winning season for Tigres and became the backbone of their success. in the 2018/19 season, they were Mexican Clausura champions and in the 2019/20 season they went on to become CONCACAF champions league winners and tournament top goal scorer with 7 goals. In the 2020/21 season, he returned to Europe, joined Fenerbahce, and scored 41 goals in 90 games across all competitions. Valencia is currently the top scorer in the Turkish league with 13 goals in 12 games and Fenerbahce is topping the table.
Just by looking at the stats, his contributions to each team he played are put to sharp relief. He was the top scorer on three occasions and won the title on two of them. He plays for Ecuador, He plays for Fenerbahce, He is not playing in Europe’s top 5 leagues so no one knows about him well. He is in top form, He has the potential to become the top scorer in this world cup, and He is always a man for big occasions.