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Ji-Sung Park's Early Years - Before Manchester United

Born on 25th February, 1981 in Seoul, South Korea, Ji-Sung Park was brought up in Suwon, a small industrial town just south of the capital. Always small for his age, Park's ambition to become a professional football player started at a very young age. But he was keenly aware of his 'scrawny' physique and reportedly his father would even give him boiled frog extracts and other sports supplements to 'help him grow'! While obviously a talented boy, it was Park's utter dedication and determination that stays in the mind of those who knew him when growing up.

His parents would worry when he failed to come home after football practice at school, only to find him doing push-ups on the training ground when the other boys had long gone home! Ji-Sung Park only just made it into a Korean college football team and then in 2000, he signed his first official contract with a lowly, second division Japanese side- Kyoto Purple Sanga. But soon everything was to change for Ji-Sung Park....with his eventual moves to PSV Eindhoven and then on to Manchester United, where he eventually won the Champions League - the biggest and best trophy in European football - against all odds as the online betting markets didn't favour them!

Manchester United remain on course for an unprecedented number of trophies in the 2010/11 season, with the team topping the table and in the Quarter Finals of both the Champions League and the FA Cup. Though the football betting markets don't price them as favourites to win all three, with Ji Sung Park in the team, surely anything is possible...

Ji Sung Park News

Park Will Not Play in The World Cup

Hong Myung-bo (South Korean National Football Team’s head coach) made desperate attempts to convince Ji-sung Park (South Korean National Football Team’s former captain) to play for the World Cup Team of Korea this year because he wanted veteran players to be a part of his squad. But his attempts have completely failed.

Park had announced in January 2011 that he will not represent the national team of South Korea in any of the big tournaments which means he will retire internationally. His retirement has been a controversial issue ever since the year 2011. Therefore Hong decided to talk to Park personally so that the issue can be resolved once and for all.

Ji-sung Park made it very clear to Hong that he will not return for the 2014 Fifa World Cup that is going to take place in Brazil. Park informed Hong that his knees are not up to the mark because of which he will not play for the South Korean National team. Hong has decided to acknowledge Park’s decision.

Currently, Ji-sung Park is playing as a midfielder for PSV Eindhoven (a Dutch football club) and Hong met him in Netherlands where the FC Augsburg match was taking place. Though he will not give up his international retirement, Park has assured Hong that he will help the team as much as possible.

Considered as one of the iconic South Korean footballer, Park has represented South Korea in around hundred matches and has also participated in three World Cup tournaments in the past. In each of the World Cup tournament, he has scored a goal and has proved to the world that he is a big tournament player.

Park’s presence in the South Korean National team would have been valuable because his experience and skill set is something that cannot be replaced conveniently.

Park Might Play

Park Ji-Sung might be seen featuring for his national side again in a few weeks’ time. Hong Myung-Bo who is in charge of the South Korean national team at the moment told the reporters yesterday that the veteran midfielder might be called back to make appearance in one of the practice games before the World Cup finals. Park who is 32 years of age at the moment had quit international football at the start of 2011 and has said time and time again that there is no chance whatsoever of him making a comeback for South Korea, but, Hong’s statement indicates something else.

South Korea has to take on Greece in March and Hong is supposed to chat with Park at some of point of time before that.

Earlier, there were reports that Hong would be having a conversation with the former captain after that Greece game, but, it seems that the Korean manager has changed his plan. He wants Park to come back as soon as possible so that he gets time to prepare himself mentally for a tournament which would be quite draining. Talking to the reporters about Park’s comeback, Hong said, “It’s something which is possible; that’s for sure. I would have a direct conversation with him and see what he has to say.”

Hong knows Park quite well as these two players had represented South Korea together in the 2002 World Cup. He has the idea how important it is to have experience in the squad for big tournaments and that’s why he is looking to make the former Manchester United player come out of his retirement. Park has the experience of playing in 3 World Cups i.e. 2002, 2006 and 2010 and he has scored in each one of those tournaments.

Back at PSV

PSV Eindhoven recently brought in their former star Ji sung Park from QPR on a season-long loan deal. He is expected to significantly strengthen the team ahead of the Champions league qualifying match against AC Milan. PSV are extremely close to sealing the sport in the group stages after managing a 1-1 draw with Milan in the first leg. The second leg, though, will be at the San Siro and it will be of a definite advantage to Milan. Despite this, PSV manager Philip Cocu reckons that his team will be able to achieve the necessary result and qualify for the group stages.

After the 1-1 draw in the first leg, PSV will be able to progress with a victory or a better score draw at Milan. Cocu has admitted that it will be different match to the home encounter, but he is confident of progress. Milan are one of the best clubs in Europe and they have the second best record when it comes to the European trophies won. They have seven European cups, which is only second best to Real Madrid, who have won nine so far. Cocu admitted that Milan have the advantages it comes to choosing players because they have a lot of strength in depth.

“Playing at home is different to being away. We played a good game in Eindhoven and are confident we can also do well tomorrow in Milan’s stadium. It is a wonderful moment for me as well as the team, as being able to measure yourself up against a side like Milan is great. This brings tension, but it is a positive tension, a sensation you need in football. My job is also to help my players to experience and use this pressure. Milan have the luxury of being able to choose between great players," said Coco.

No Worries

The QPR captain and midfielder Park Ji sung has said that he does not worry about the prospect of losing the captain's armband if the club manage to stay in the Premier league next season. QPR are fighting against relegation this season and they recently brought in the former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp in order to survive in the league. They have struggled quite badly this season despite the presence of high profile players like Park Ji sung and José Bosingwa. The former manager Mark Hughes brought in several players, who have so far not performed for the team as they should have done according to their value and experience.

Most of the criticism has been towards the midfielder Park Ji sung, who arrived from Manchester United. He was made captain of the team by the former manager, who also decided to omit several key players part of the promotion campaigns. The arrival of Redknapp, though, has changed the attitude of QPR and they have started getting results recently. One of the changes made by Redknapp is recalling most of the lesser-known players within the team. Now, Park has said that he would be willing to give up his armband if the club stay up in the Premier league.

“I respect the manager’s decision and I don’t really care about that. I am an experienced player so I can help the team with or without the armband. Last week we won against Chelsea and we had to keep our momentum and not lose the game. After the game I had no pain so I am really happy,” said Park. The manager Redknapp recently revealed that he will be looking at the possibility of strengthen his squad in the January transfer window by bringing in a few players, with the French striker Remy a key target.

Fergie Misses Park

The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has praised the former midfielder Park Ji-sung by saying that he is one of the best professionals he has encountered in the game. The South Korean midfielder was one of the best Asian players in recent times in the Premier league, as he was a first team regular at Manchester United. Even more than the status as a first-team regular, Sir Alex Ferguson often picked him for the big matches due to his excellent work rate and tactical knowledge. He has been frequently employed as a defensive midfielder to stop the opposition from playing.

Recently, he has not been at his best and due to the concerns about his age, the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson decided to send him to QPR on a permanent deal worth around £ 2 million. Even though he has not been at his best for QPR this season, the Manchester United manager has acknowledged the fact that Park Ji-sung remains as one of the best professionals he has encountered in the game. The 31-year-old will be returning to Old Trafford for the first time this leaving the club, but will not be part of the QPR line-up that plays in the match. This is because of the knee injury that will keep him out of the squad for this match.

"The great thing about Ji-sung Park is he's one of the best professionals we've had here. He was truly fantastic, and particularly in big games. I loved playing him in the big games. His record against Arsenal, for instance, was fantastic. The Milan games over there and at Old Trafford, when I asked Park to play directly against [Andrea] Pirlo, are memorable. He never gave Pirlo a kick and he kept running off him which was brilliant too. Park had roles that only a disciplined and selfless player could have," said Ferguson.

QPR suffer defeat

Arsenal has defeated QPR in a Premier League match played at Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Arsenal won the match by a close margin of 1-0. This was the fourth victory for the Gunners in the ongoing Premier League. This victory has taken them to no. 6 in the points table. Arsenal has played 9 matches in the tournament so far out of which the Gunners have come out victorious on four occasions. They have lost 2 matches, while, in the remaining three matches, the points have been shared.

On the other hand, QPR’s disastrous run in the ongoing Premier League continued and Mark Hughes’ side had to suffer yet another defeat in the competition. QPR hasn’t managed to win even a single game in the competition so far. QPR has played 9 matches in the tournament so far out of which they have lost 6 matches. The rest three matches have finished without any result.

The Gunners were defeated by Schalke 4 in their previous match. So, they had come into this match under a bit of pressure and they looked rusty in the first 45 minutes of the match. But, in the second half, they were at the top of their game. On the other hand, the QPR team kept struggling in the entire match. In the 79th minute of the match, QPR was reduced to 10 players when Stephane M’Bia was shown red card. Just five minutes later, Arsenal took the lead with the goal of Mikel Arteta. It was not easy for the 10-men QPR to score the leveller in the remaining time.

In the post match press conference, Mark Hughes said, “It’s obviously frustrating to see the team losing so often. I personally believe that we played quite decently in the first half, but, we were not up to the mark in the second half and that red card didn’t help either.”

QPR will play its next match against Reading on 4th of November at the Loftus Road Stadium.

Park backs Robert Green

The QPR midfielder Park Ji sung has said that he expects the goalkeeper Robert Green to come good in the next few matches. The former West Ham United goalkeeper was signed on a free transfer in the summer. He is thought to be one of the highest-paid players at the club after having played in international matches for England. However, he has not been at his best in the opening few matches of the season. He conceded five goals in the first match of the season against Swansea, which was followed by a nervous performance against Norwich city.

Speaking ahead of the next match, Park Ji sung has said that he is confident that the 32-year-old England international will be able to find his best form for the club. The horror debut is one of the worst things that can happen to a goalkeeper because he conceded five goals on his first match for the club. However, the former Manchester United midfielder reckons that Robert Green is a strong character and will be able to come back from this strongly. It is expected that QPR will be looking to bring in another keeper before the end of the transfer window.

“He forgot things quickly, that's the good thing. He was calm so it's good for us. We've only had two games. He has the ability so we just leave him and give him the confidence. We haven't spoken about that [messages from Paddy Kenny]. He's not a young player and has experience. Every player speaks to each other and if we have problems we sort them out. But he's not worried about them. He showed that he's getting better," said Park Ji sung after the Norwich city match. QPR will be facing the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham in the next few days.

Park Ji-Sung wears the armband on QPR debut

The 31 year old South Korean is one of a number of experienced Premier League players to make the move to Loftus Road, and manager Mark Hughes has confirmed his belief in the midfielder’s leadership skills by giving him the captaincy during Queens Park Rangers’ friendly victory over a Malaysian XI last week.

The armband has been available since it was stripped from Joey Barton following the player’s assault on Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero during his side’s defeat to Manchester City on the final day of last season, which resulted in a record 12 match ban from the Premier League disciplinary committee. Hughes obviously considers the Korean to be an ideal candidate for the role of captain, but has stated that he is yet to make a final decision.

"I thought I would give Ji the captaincy as he is very well known in these parts so I thought it would be a nice gesture for him to be captain for the game," said the manager in the aftermath of the 5-0 victory. "I haven't made a decision on the captaincy yet but I thought it was important that he was the captain tonight."

Park will undoubtedly be delighted to be bestowed such an honour so early in his career at his new side, and was also held in very high regard by former side Manchester United before his £2.5 million move to the capital. “He’s been a fantastic servant to the club over the past seven years,” said former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. “He is the ultimate professional and such a nice lad. He never let us down on the big occasions. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t give him the number of games he wanted.”

The Korean’s arrival has also been heralded by existing members of the QPR squad, with striker Djibril Cissé labelling his arrival as “huge”, saying : “He’s what we needed – quality, experience, a winning-mentality”. QPR will be hopeful that Park can live up to this hype and help his new side to a successful Premier League season.

Park Wants to End at United

Manchester United midfielder Ji-Sung Park has said that he wants to finish his career with Manchester United. The 31-year-old South Korean has been an influential part of the Manchester United team in the last few seasons so much so that Sir Alex Ferguson has always selected him for the big matches. His industrious workrate and ability to protect the team has meant that he has been often crucial in Manchester United's success over the last five years. However, he seems to be coming to an end to his life at Old Trafford after he has been largely a bit part player this season.

Even when he was selected in the crucial Manchester Derby, he failed to make any impact. As a result, it is thought that Manchester United will be willing to sell the South Korean before his contract runs out at the end of next season. The 31-year-old, though, has expressed his desire that he wants to retire at Old Trafford. He has been linked with a number of clubs in recent weeks, with the most prominent being the interest from Turkish club Galatasaray. Ji sung Park made 28 appearances for Manchester United this season.

"It was a disappointing end to the season, both for the team and me personally, but the past is the past and we must look forward. I'll focus on what to do from now on. It's true that I want to retire at United, but it does not depend on me. I haven't received an official offer. It is always a good thing for a player to be wanted by a team, though. I know I can't stay in the team just because I want to, but I still harbour hopes of retiring with Manchester United," said Park in response to the speculation linking him with Galatasaray.

Is Park on his Way Out?

Manchester United are reportedly looking at the possibility of selling South Korean midfielder Park Ji Sung in the summer. The South Korean midfielder was initially thought to be arriving at Old Trafford in order to sell merchandise back in Asia, but he has proved to be highly capable player alongside the likes of Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick. He has become so influential within the Manchester United midfielder over the last couple of seasons that manager Sir Alex Ferguson has always taken him for the big matches. It was once again the case in recent Manchester derby, which is the only difference being that Park Ji Sung has not been part of the starting line-up for more than three months.

It had an effect on the pitch, as the Korean was largely ineffective during the 60 minutes he was on the pitch. The 31-year-old only recently signed a one-year extension to his current contract, but it is thought that Manchester United will allow him to leave the club in the summer. They have already lined up a replacement in the form of a Borussia Dortmund midfielder from Japan. This will be his seventh season at Manchester United for Park Ji Sung. He has won every major trophy with the club during his seven-year stint apart from the FA Cup.

Park Ji Sung was a key influence in the Manchester United team that won the 2008 Champions League final against Chelsea, despite the fact that he was not involved in the match. After the match, manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that it was one of the toughest decisions he has had to make as the manager of Manchester United. Manchester United are expected to bring in a number of players in the summer in order to start challenging in a major way in European football.

Park Happy with Captaincy

Manchester United midfielder Park Ji sung has said that he is overjoyed by the captaincy awarded to him in the match against Ajax recently. Manchester United faced Ajax in the second leg of the Europa league last 32 round at Old Trafford. Manchester United were coming into the match after having won the first leg comfortably 2-1, and thus, they were the favourites to progress into the next round as well. Park Ji sung was handed the captaincy for the first time in his Old Trafford career. Now, the South Korean has said that he is extremely delighted with the status awarded by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, the occasion was slightly tainted by the fact that Ajax managed a 2-1 win over Manchester United. Despite this defeat, United progress into the last 16 of the Europa league where they will be facing Spanish club Athletic Bilbao. Manchester United and Manchester City are the favourites to win the Europa league this season, as they are the two strong teams left in the competition. However, Manchester United very nearly crashed out of the competition as a result of this defeat, which was later criticised heavily by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

“It was a great honour to be named Manchester United captain. It is not something I ever thought about doing, but I would have preferred the result to be better. From now on, every match in the Premier League is important. We have to keep pressing Manchester City. We have experienced this kind of pressure before. It is a big advantage for us that we have that kind of experience," Manchester United midfielder Park Ji sung said after the match. United are currently second in the Premier league table, but are yet to face Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.

Ji Sung Eager to Play

Manchester United are eager to face the next Champions League opponents Benfica according to midfielder Ji sung Park. Manchester United manager to drop two points against Benfica in the first fixture between the two sides, but it seems that United are well prepared for this match given that we have to win it in order to qualify for the next round. Even though Manchester United's group was extremely easy on paper, they have struggled to make any inroads into the prospect of qualification. Even with only one match remaining, it now seems extremely uncertain that Manchester United will finish as the group winners, failing to do so will make Sir Alex Ferguson's side play against the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

However, Ji sung Park thinks that Manchester United can easily win the match against Benfica provided they dominate the midfield, something that they have failed to do in the earlier Champions League matches. One of the theories being suggested for this lack of victories in the group, which is considered as easy by many, is thought to be the relaxed mood of the United players. However, Ji sung Park believes that his teammates now think Benfica as a more serious opponent than before.

Speaking ahead of the match, Ji sung Park said "I’m sure Benfica will play some good football but with a lot of care as well because they know they are playing away at our ground. We will do our best to get the positive result that we aim for. When I played against Benfica for Sporting Lisbon, the games were like United against Manchester City. They were always tough games."

The two wins against Otelul Galati have kept Manchester United going in the group stages. Without them, they would have been out of the group by now.

Park hopes for a good performance

Manchester United midfielder Ji-Sung Park has said that he is hoping that his side repeat the good performance that they showed against Otelul Galati in the Champions League. After suffering a poor start to the Champions League group stage campaign, Manchester United finally returned to form with a 2-0 win over the Romanian outfit. Ji-Sung Park has revealed that he is hoping for more or less the same result when the two sides meet at Old Trafford for the reverse fixture.

Incidentally, this fixture will also mark the first time Manchester United step onto the Old Trafford pitch after their 6-1 humiliation at the hands of archrivals Manchester City. United are usually extremely efficient in the Champions League group stage, as they conceded no goals at this stage of the competition last season. This time around, it has been very different, with United already conceding three goals at home at the hands off minnows FC Basel in the first group match.

In an interview prior to the match, Ji-Sung Park told reporters, "We were winning 2-0 at half-time, we lost our concentration and they were able to go 3-2 up. But we have that experience now, so we know what happens when we lose concentration, and if we are United we have to do a proper job against Galati."

United are currently second in the table, with surprising leaders Benfica just ahead of United. Sir Alex Ferguson has already reiterated the fact that they should not be taking the Champions League so easily. Further, the Manchester City humiliation will likely mean that Manchester United will be extremely pumped up to get a positive result, which will go a way into erasing the memories of the terrible defeat. Ji-Sung Park is expected to play a major role in the match, which is extremely crucial for United.