Park Ji Sung – The Story Of The Unsung Hero
What a performance from Park Ji Sung the other against Chelsea last week. The South Korean gave 110% for the 90 mins and scored the winning goal to cap off a highly impressive all round display. It is what we have come to expect from Park in our biggest games and he showed last Tuesday night why he is one of the first names on Sir Alex’s team sheet when United are facing the big boys. In the last year Park has scored the winning goal against Liverpool (home league game last season), Arsenal (this season) and last Tuesday nights winner against Chelsea.
Park Ji Sung has come an awful long way from being the boy who drank frog juice to build up his strength in South Korea to a National Hero and Premier League star. In 1998, upon finishing high school Park was rejected from numerous professional and university teams in his native South Korea. Eventually he ended up playing for Myongi University. In January 1999 the university team had a chance to train with the South Korean Olympics Team and here Park attracted the attention of National Coaches. Park soon became a member of the National Squad and made his Senior International Debut against Laos in April 2000.
Park was offered a professional contract by Kyoto Purple Sanga in Japan and was finally playing professional football after all of the hard work he had put in since being rejected as a 17 year old after finishing High School. After the 2000 Olympics South Korea replaced Huh Jung-Moo with Guus Hiddink in a move that would be a defining point in Park’s career. Hiddink led South Korea to the Semi-Finals of the 2002 World Cup with Park one of the stars of the team. Hiddink was appointed as manager of PSV Eindhoven after the World Cup and in 2003 Park followed his mentor to the Netherlands.
Park struggled to establish himself in the first team at PSV largely due to injuries and when he did play he suffered abuse at the hands of his own fans who didn’t feel he was good enough to play for the club. Park came into his own in the 2004-05 season following the departure of Arjen Robben to Chelsea and became an integral part of the PSV side as the club reached the Champions League Semi-Finals. Park scored the opening goal of the tie against AC Milan, as PSV lost out on away goals to the Italian side, and had at this point established himself as a firm fans favourite.
In the summer of 2005 Park was on the move again as Sir Alex Ferguson bid £4 million for the South Korea International. Park has gone from strength to strength since joining the club and is an example to all young players looking to make it in the game. Perhaps one of the lowest points of Park’s career came in Moscow in 2008 when he was left out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad for the Champions League Final against Chelsea. Some players would throw a tantrum others would let it shatter their confidence. Not Park Ji Sung, ever the team player the South Korean took it in his stride and it only made him more determined. 12 months later in Rome Park started the Champions League Final against Barcelona.
Many hurdles have been placed in this man’s way to prevent him from reaching the top but Park’s approach to life and to his career is one which you have to respect. He puts his head down and gives 110% everytime, putting the team first on every occassion. When he hangs up his boots he will be able to look back on a truly outstanding career and his stats are highly impressive. Park has captained his National team and won 100 caps appearing in three World Cups. He was won two Dutch League Titles, a Dutch Cup, three Premier League Titles, three League Cups, a Champions League Title and the Club World Cup……and he’s not finished yet…..
Submitted by Glory Glory Man Utd
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