Italian legend Andrea Pirlo has labelled Sir Alex Ferguson’s use of Park Ji Sung to man-mark him during a 2010 Champions League clash as a “gross injustice” and claimed that in doing so, Ferguson ruined his “purity” with tactics displaying “shabbiness.”
The Juventus midfielder made the claims in his autobiography, writing that Ferguson was without blemish until he utilised the Korean to mark him out of the game. On his marker, Pirlo disparagingly continued by suggesting that the Korean – who had the last laugh in a game in which the Italian barely got a sniff – would “look at the ball and not know what it was for.”
“Guys in my position are the ones who plot and construct the play and it’s us who now have the toughest bloke on the other team snapping away at our heels,” opened Pirlo in a much-publicised autobiography that has echoes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s recent effort in its tone.
“Opposition managers must be scared of me, otherwise they’d never employ these tactics, but knowing that is scant consolation.
“Even Sir Alex Ferguson, the purple-nosed manager who turned Manchester United into a fearsome battleship, couldn’t resist the temptation. He’s essentially a man without blemish, but he ruined that purity just for a moment when it came to me. A fleeting shabbiness came over the legend that night.
“On one of the many occasions where our paths crossed during my time at Milan, he unleashed Park Ji Sung to shadow me. The midfielder must have been the first nuclear-powered South Korean in history, in the sense that he rushed about the pitch at the speed of an electron.
“Back and forth he went. He’d try to contribute in attack and if that didn’t work, he’d fling himself at me. He’d have his hands all over my back, making his presence felt and trying to intimidate me.
“He’d look at the ball and not know what it was for. An unidentified rotating object, to his eyes.
“They’d programmed him to stop me and that was the only thing he was thinking about. His devotion to the task was almost touching. Even though he was already a famous player, he consented to being used as a guard dog, willingly limiting his own potential.
“I live every one of these experiences as a gross injustice, and it’s not uncommon for me to feel real pity for whoever’s sent to watch me. They’re players — more than that, they’re men — who’ve been asked to go out there and act without dignity, destroying instead of creating.”