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Ji-Sung Park

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  • First Name:
    Ji-Sung
    Last Name:
    Park
    National Team:
    Korea
    Date of Birth:
    Feb 25, 1981
    Position:
    Midfielder
    Seasons:
    7
    Bio:
    Park's first professional club was Kyoto Purple Sanga in the Japanese second division. In his first season with the club they won the division 2 championship and were promoted to the J1 division. The following year saw more success as he helped the team to the final of the Emperor's Cup where he scored one goal and set up another. They won the game 2-1 and became Emperor's Cup Champions for the first time in the club's history.

    Park was drafted into the World Cup 2002 squad by coach Guus Hiddink and was to play a starring role for South Korea. After beating Poland and drawing with USA, South Korea needed at least a point from their final game against Portugal in order to qualify for the knockout stages. With the game heading to a stalemate, two Portugal players were sent off and were forced onto the back foot. Park got on the end of a long ball, controlled it on his chest, took it past a defender and volleyed it into the net. The goal sent South Korea into the knockout stages for the first time and eliminated Portugal.

    When Hiddink became coach of Dutch side PSV, he signed Park from Sanga. At first he struggled to replicate the form he showed for his national team due to injuries. In 2003, following the transfer of team mate Arjen Robben to Chelsea, Park was given more chances to shine. He quickly became a key player in the PSV midfield, chipping in with goals and assists.

    His most memorable moment in a PSV shirt was against AC Milan in the Champions League semi final. he was man of the match in the second leg in Holland and scored the opening goal of a 3-1 win. Unfortunately their 2-0 defeat in the San Siro in the first leg meant they were eliminated on the away goals rule, despite being the much better team over the two legs.

    His form on the European stage was noticed by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who signed park for £4 million in 2005. His first couple of seasons were marred by injuries and in 2007 he was sent to America to see a specialist for his knee problems. Despite this, he had still made enough appearances to become the first Korean player to win the Premier League.

    Making his comeback from injury, he scored his first goal of the 2007/2008 season against Fulham. It was another season of success for United but would end in disappointment for Park. Having played well against Roma in the quarter finals and picking up a man of the match in the second leg of the semi final against Barcelona, Park was expected to start the final against Chelsea. Sir Alex Ferguson shocked everyone with his team selection, not only did Park not start, he wasn't even on the bench. It's a decision Ferguson later described as the "hardest decision of my life".

    He didn't let the snub affect him however, and started the following season well. He put in another man of the match performance against Chelsea at Stamford bridge, scoring United's only goal in a 1-1 draw.

    He was part of the 23 man squad United took to Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup. He missed the semi final but played the full game in the final which United won 1-0 thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal. They became the first English club to win the competition.

    Park played a key role in United's Champions league run again, scoring the first goal against Arsenal in the Emirates in the semi final second leg. United won the tie 4-1 on aggregate and advanced to the final for the second season in a row.

    The final turned out to be one to forget. Park this time made the starting line up, but United put in a poor team performance and lost 2-0 to Spanish champions Barcelona.

    In May 2009 Park said "I have no reason to move. I play at the best club in the world." He then signed a new four year contract keeping him at the club until 2013.

    In July 2012 Park was sold to QPR for an undisclosed fee.
  • Played (start/sub):
    204 (146/58)
    Goals (hattricks):
    27 (0)
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