5-a-side - Valenzuela

FIVE-A-SIDE | Milton Valenzuela's picks

We asked defender Milton Valenzuela to pick his own five-a-side team consisting of players he's either played with or against during his career, including one current or former Crew SC teammate.

Zack Steffen (Goalkeeper, Fortuna Düsseldorf)

Background: Players weren't forced to pick a goalkeeper, but the connection between Steffen and Valenzuela, who overlapped for a season and a half while Steffen played in Columbus, warranted his choosing as Steffen remains on loan from Manchester City.

Milton's Explanation: "Ever since I came [to Columbus], he was my teammate. I've had a lot of playing time with a lot of really good goalkeepers but I don't think any of them have been as good as he is. The way that he worked and his personality, he was a great guy to be around. He gave not just me but the rest of my teammates a sense of security knowing that we had him back there."

Lisandro Martínez (Defender, Ajax)

Background: Valenzuela came to Columbus from Argentine club Newell's Old Boys (think Lionel Messi & Marcelo Bielsa) and played alongside Martinez during the youth at the Rosario-based club.

Milton's Explanation: "I played with him through the youth levels, and at Newell's Old Boys we were teammates. I think we went through a lot together ... and he's always been a top player. He's playing with Ajax right now and he continues to do well."

Maxi Rodriguez (Midfielder, Newell's Old Boys)

Background: Valenzuela again keeps it in the Argentine family with this pick, as both played at Newell's Old Boys during Valenzuela's early years, while Rodriguez has since returned to his hometown club. Though, you may recall Rodriguez's chill-inducing goal during Argentina's 2-1 win over Mexico in the 2006 World Cup.

Milton's Explanation: "Maxi Rodriguez is someone I played with at Newell's Old Boys. He's been an idol at the club for a while and when I first started playing with him, he was and very professional, a very good player."

Luis Díaz (Midfielder, Crew SC)

Background: Valenzuela is the second player to list two Crew players on his five-a-side (see Josh Williams). Among the reasons Valenzuela included Diaz, who came to the Club last summer, was for his unique role in the team's offensive gameplan.

Milton's Explanation: "Luis Diaz is a different type of player. He's very fast and he's able to unbalance the offense, and he's very physical and very good. We use him a lot in the attack. He's a player who plays a key role in our team and there's a reason for that."

David Villa (Forward, Retired)

Background: A choice of teammate Josh Williams as well, Valenzuela and David Villa played against each during the 2018 season, when Villa was with New York City FC.

Milton's Explanation: "David Villa has a lot of great characteristics. He's done it all - he's been through Europe [and] won a World Cup. So there's not a lot more I can say about him; everyone knows who he is."


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