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Park and Evra - BFF's.

Manchester United's defender Patrice Evra and Ji Sung Park are best friends. Not only on the pitch but more noteably off the pitch, as Evra frequently likes to visit Park. The interaction between them has brought the pair closer together, almost like brothers. Evra even calls Park's father, Park Sung Jong, Papa. Living in England, the two players have become very dependent on each other as they overcame their difficluties together. Park Sung Jong now reveals the untold stories of the pair.

Park Sung Jong-

When utd have a game abroad our house becomes a gathering point. Because the parking is expensive at the airport, several players come to our house so that they can catch a ride from me to the airport. Pat, Carlito, VDS, and Berba are the usual customers as well as Ji. I always get nervous when I drive them because I'm escorting a team of superstars and their combined cost is over 40 million!! Therefore, I have to always be alert and at my best and try not to think about crashing! But Evra is always at my side cracking his usual jokes and that gets rid of any worries. When we won the EPL ,Evra was the first one to come and hug me and my wife and take a picture with us. Also, he always calls me papa. Thats how close we are, like a family.

Evra is a French international, but he is actually from Senegal. He grew up in the back streets of Les Ulis, a place populated with gangsters. However, it was football that prevented Evra from going down that road. I think Theirry Henry was from that region too.

Evra and Park are of same age. Evra is a bit more sociable than Ji, but both don't talk much and both are introspective. Whether its Ruud Van Nistelrooy of the past or Edwin Van der Sar of today, most of Ji's friends are from abroad, outside of Uk. British players usually hang out with each other and so the foreign players usually cluster together and depend upon each other.

Two years ago in the summer of 2007, during the Asian Tour, Evra was able to visit Korea. The day before the game, he came over to our house in Suwon. In Machester, he always asked us if he could vist our home in Korea if he had the chance. Therefore, he seized the opportunity when utd came to Korea to come and visit us. Not only did he look around our house, but he also begged Ji if he could take him to a nightclub in Seoul. Ji had never been to a night club in his life until the day he gave in to Evra's wishes.

Evra and Ji first met not as friends but as enemies back in 2005. They clashed in the round of 16 in the Champions League, Park playing for PSV and Evra playing for AS Monaco. In the two legs, Ji played on the right side of midfield and Evra played as left back and so both of them were frequently in battle. Eventually, PSV won both games 1-0 and 2-0. Evra sometimes reminisces about that game. He joked "I had my butt kicked around all night by Ji and so I didn't really feel like being friends with him." "I held a grudge over him." Surprisingly, both Ji and Evra remember that game very well. I believe it was destiny for both of them to become best friends.

When Evra first arrived back in January of 2006, he had difficulties adjusting to the team. At that time, Mikael Silvestre and Gabriel Heinze cemented their places ahead of Evra and there was no room for Evra to break through. Whenever he had the chance to play, he made mistakes and that cost him his place. He was so into attacking that he sometimes forgot his defensive duties and left his marker free to roam. Unfortunately, he was dubbed the "full back that never returns" by some sections of utd fans. During those difficlut periods, it was Ji that consoled Evra and gave him a shoulder to lean on. Ji told Evra about the difficult times he experienced back in Netherlands and tried to give him the confidence that he needed.

We became even closer friends with Evra when we moved right next to his house on February, 2007. Whenever Evra's wife, Patricia (funny Evra's first name is Patrice and his wife's first name is Patricia), takes her kids to visit relatives in France, Evra comes to our house and settles in as if it is his home. Sometimes, he invites Ji to his house and they spend time together. I think thats how Evra repays the kindness Ji has given him. When Ji had a surgery on his left ankle, I remember Evra writing a get well message on his cast. When Ji had a surgery on his right knee in the Spring of 2007, Evra dedicated the goal he scored in the 7-1 thrashing of Roma to Ji.

Evra's father lives in Dakar, Senegal. Evra says that, because his father married so many times, whenever he goes back to his home town, there is an Evra here, an Evra there and Evra Evra everyhwere. Evra's father usually stays in Senegal, but he came to visit Manchester one day. Evra was so excited about the prospect of playing in front of his father at Old Trafford. However, Ferguson decided to put Evra on the bench and after the game Evra was extremely upset. He held his anger inside but when he got home he exploded. He screamed and started throwing things to the ground. It was obvious he wanted to make his father proud. I looked and Evra and thought "what if that happened to Ji?" Ji rarely reveals his feelings in front of me. He usually hides it. However, I could tell he was extremely disappointed when he missed out on the chance to play in the CL final last year. Sometimes, I wish Ji would be more expressive of his feelings like Evra.

Last year, we moved into the house Evra used to live. It is three stories with seven rooms. Evra also moved about 3-4 minutes away from our house. When Ji goes to training, he and Evra usually share a car. One day it wiil be Ji driving and the next day it is Evra. When training is over, the two of them sometimes go to a Korean restaurant to eat.

Evra's love for Utd is strong. He got a highly profitable offer from Inter Milan but he immediately turned it down. Whenever he plays a football video game with Ji, I have never seen him select a team other than Utd.

Now they are in the CL final together again. A few days ago, Evra told Ji "Hey friend, last year we didnt get to play with each other, but this time lets do this together. Remeber, if either of us score, we must celebrate together. Evra is a really good friend of Ji.
 

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How long is it going to take Tevez to learn English? He's been England nearly 3 years.
Ive lived in Spain for 6 years and he still speaks better Spanish than me - If we both got paid on the strength of our language skills we wouldn't earn too much.
'He's been England nearly 3 years.' - Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
 

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@Shiven

thanks for sharig that article.
It's funny to read an article by the father of a player. I don't think I've read that many.

great to read, once again, about their friendship and about their loyalty to Man Utd.
I find it interesting that Berbatov is also starting to mix with them, could help him settle faster into the team.
 
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