So I packed Valencia out of the Libertadores player pack a while back, but couldn't use him because he is so hard to link. When Icon swaps 3 came out, I picked Gattuso so that I could use this absolute beast of a right back.
I'm gonna start with his only real con: linkability. He's the only playable Ecuadorian in the game, and the only other good player at this stage of the game who plays in the Libertadores "League" is Polenta. So the options to get Valencia at least on 7 chem are either to play him alongside Polenta or an icon. By the way, it is impossible to improve his chemistry to 8, since there aren't any managers from Ecuador or the "Libertadores League".
Also, his pace doesn't always really feel like the 94 with an anchor. Don't get me wrong, he is still very fast. But when you're facing TOTY Mané or Mbappé, Valencia doesn't always catch up to them. It might be because of his stocky body type or the fact he's on 7 chem, but you get the impression that he can struggle a little bit against the fastest players at the end of the game.
This being said, if you're able to link him on at least 7 chem, I really advise you to buy him. He plays for me with 7 chem thanks to that link with Gattuso, and he may be the best RB I've played in any FIFA.
It's quite simple, he's the 3rd best RB in the game based on Base and In Game stats. The only other right backs that may be better than him are TOTY Trent, and PIM Zambrotta and Carlos Alberto (Ramos Moments isn't really a full-back, but he also might be better than Valencia). And they all are at least 1 million coins more expensive than him. He's only around 120-130k when I'm writing this review, and that makes him the best value for money player in the whole game according to me (excluding all the objective cards). Spending more than a 100k on a right back may be a lot for some players, but it is insane how many defensive differences he makes.
I'm playing him with an anchor, I think that it's the best chem style for him as his pace, defending and physical basically are all maxed out.
Small disclaimer: when I'll be talking about his stats, it will be with an anchor chem style, on 7 chem.
Pace: he's very quick, with 95 acceleration and 94 sprint speed. He doesn't feel as quick as my 86 Alphonso Davies on the other side of the defense, but it still is very good. As long as he stays back when you're attacking you'll be more than fine.
Defending: it's perfect, with 95 interceptions, 95 defensive awareness, 96 standing tackle, 94 sliding tackle. It's quite simple, he's always very well positioned, and if he comes close to the opponent's attacker, he will win the ball. Plus it seems like this annoying thing when you tackle the opponent but he still recovers the ball never happens with Valencia, while it sometimes happens to my left back
Physical: this might also be because of his physical stats: he has 93 strength and 99 aggression, yes 99 aggression. This is exceptional, as aggression is more important than strength this year for a defender. It might seem that I am overly lauding him, but I can seriously not recall a time when he got bullied by an opponent's winger. Remember how stocky and powerful he was when he played for Man U? Well it's basically the same ingame.
The 85 jumping is also helpful, he always wins aerial fights. That's very helpful when you have a goal kick: you send the ball to Valencia, press L2 (or LT on Xbox), and there you go you build your attack.
Dribbling: the 80 agility might be throwing you off, but he feels very smooth on the ball despite his stocky body type. With his 93 ball control, it's quite hard to take him of the ball. The 91 reactions and 89 composure also come in handy for his defensive abilities.
Passing: with 89 short passing, 90 crossing and 88 curve, it's not exceptional but still very good for a right back. I have nothing special to say there, I only use my ful backs to make pass triangles in attack and Valencia does that perfectly.
Even though I ask my full backs to stay back, Valencia positions himself really nicely when I'm attacking. If I'm blocked on the right side, he'll only be like ten meters behind my winger to provide a pass solution. If you have your full backs on balanced attacking, he'll also be a great asset to your team. His runs are really good, and he has this indescribable aspect where if you push the ball forward with R3 when there's no one ahead of him, he'll send it further away than other players. Some cards have inexplicable unique features, and this is Valencia's: if he's clear behind your opponent's defense, I can guarantee you that they will not catch him. Plus, he's perfect for cut-backs with his passing ability and physical stats.
Maybe that's because of the medium/medium work rates, but it feels like he's constantly at the right place.
It's just nice to play with other players than the meta ones you see in every other team. I find it much more enjoyable to play with players like him or the Lewandowski Headliners I have in my club than meta players.
Biggest con is without a doubt his linkability. But if you can link him with an Icon (at this stage of the game a lot of players do) do it, you won't regret him.
The 85 stamina may be an issue if you have your full backs on balanced attacking, especially if you go into extra time. Even though I have him on stay back, I found that he can struggle after the 80th minute. But that's just because he was playing against Kent or feckin Adama.
His shooting isn't the best, even for a right back. But that's really not why you're buying the card, and he did score 2 goals in FutChamps for me (was a bit mad he was so far up the pitch though).
The 3* skill moves might also be an issue for some players.
Same thing for the 2* weak foot, might be the biggest con of the card with the linkability.
His 81 long passing combined to 78 vision is not very good, I lost a few balls trying to switch the play to my left-back
I'm really just looking for other cons at this point, but an in-game face would have been nice
Used him this WL. What a tank. He's an RM and CB combo. I can't count how many times he bailed out my CB. He easily dominates in the box, and is always there if your CB or CDM get's beat on the counter. Also a menace on the wing.
I was planning to use 87 Cancelo. Out of chance I changed my team around and had RB linked to 2 icons. Now I want to change my team around again to upgrade a winger, but would have to lose those links. I'm seriously doubting anyone can replace Valencia, and might be more important to leave my team as is, to stay with this guy.
Threw in a goal and an assist too, even though my wingers attack, I barely take them into scoring positions. All of a sudden Messi is lobbing the ball to Valencia for a clean breakway down the center of the pitch. Valencia chips the GK! How did he get there?
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