Former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung retires

Park's industry, energy and work ethic made

him a favourite of Alex Ferguson during his

time at Manchester United and his

performances in England and with Dutch side

PSV Eindhoven helped raise the profile of

Korean football around the world.

The 33-year-old, who called time on his

international career after the 2011 Asian Cup,

said he could not continue to play at the

highest level because of knee issues but added

that he was leaving the game without any


"I didn't cry about it yesterday, and I'm not

crying about it today, that means I'm leaving

with no regrets," he said at the Park Ji-sung

Football Centre in Suwon, where he has a

street named after him.

"I enjoyed playing football. I have achieved

more than I have thought I would. I'm truly

grateful for all the support I have received and

I will live the rest of my life thinking how I can

pay it back."

After leaving Manchester United in 2012, Park

signed for Queen's Park Rangers but spent the

last season on loan at PSV. Issues with his knee

sidelined him for long spells over the last two


"I thought about getting an operation but even

if I did it wouldn't mean the injury would be

gone completely. Naturally, retirement was the

option," he added.

Park grabbed the spotlight at the 2002 World

Cup finals, which were co-hosted by South

Korea and Japan.

Under the tutelage of Dutch coach Guus

Hiddink, the shaggy-haired midfielder

flourished on the game's biggest stage, scoring

the winning goal against Portugal to seal

Korea's place in the knockout stages for the

first time.

After the World Cup, Hiddink was appointed

manager of PSV and brought Park with him,

where, after a tough start, he won over the

fans and caught the eye of then Manchester

United manager Ferguson.

Park, described by Ferguson as the "ultimate

professional", spent seven seasons at United,

winning four Premier League titles and the

Champions League in 2008, though he was

surprisingly omitted from the squad for the


In 2009, he became the first Asian to play in

the Champions League final when he started in

United's 2-0 loss to Barcelona.

"The proudest moment for me was of course

the 2002 World Cup," said Park, flanked by his

father and his mother, who was in tears

throughout the news conference.

"The most influential figure in my life is Guus

Hiddink. He took me abroad after the World

Cup and that was the turning point of my life.

"Ferguson also helped me play at the world's

top level… the coaches I've spent time with

are definitely my great asset."

Park gave himself a "seven out of 10" for his

career and said he would pull on the PSV

uniform for the last time on May 28 when the

Dutch side visit Korea to play in a charity

match as a tribute to the victims of the recent

ferry disaster.

Park said if he had to choose only one team to

play for it would be the national side.

"I would choose to wear the national team

uniform because it was my lifetime dream to

wear it."


Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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