Ecuador will be without Antonio Valencia for the upcoming Copa America after undergoing surgery to remove metal screws from his ankle.
The Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) made the announcement on Tuesday, with 75-cap veteran Valencia requiring at least two weeks of rehabilitation, meaning the Manchester United utility will miss June’s showpiece event in Chile.
Coach Gustavo Quinteros and Ecuador’s governing body were only made aware of Valencia’s surgery, which was conducted on Monday, after United’s final Premier League match of the season over the weekend.
“The plates or screws [inserted following a serious ankle injury in 2010] were causing trouble. Therefore they decided on an operation [Valencia and doctors of Manchester United],” Quinteros said.
“It was urgent surgery for Antonio. I want him to be 100 per cent in [World Cup] qualifying. It [surgery] was not something that was planned long ago.”
Valencia headlined Ecuador’s preliminary 30-man squad that will be reduced to 23 on June 1.
Ecuador – drawn in Group A – and hosts Chile will contest the Copa’s curtain-raiser on June 11.
Mexico and Bolivia are also in the group.