Former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung announces his retirement from football
South Korea’s Park Ji-sung has decided to hang up his boots after he announced his retirement from football on Monday.
The ex-Manchester United midfielder called time on an illustrious career that saw him become the first Asian player to play in a UEFA Champions League final along with a successful 2002 World Cup campaign co-hosted by his country.
The 33-year old’s best years were in Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven where he helped in globalizing Korea’s reputation in the sport.
At a news conference at the Park Ji-sung Football Centre in Suwon, he said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot go on any longer.”
Already retired in 2011 from the international circuit, Park assured that he was leaving the game without any regrets.
“I didn’t cry about it yesterday, and I’m not crying about it today, that means I’m leaving with no regrets.”
“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,” he added.
Park left Manchester United in 2012, after which he signed for Queen’s Park Rangers but spent the last season on loan at PSV. The Korean was suffering from knee problems which sidelined him for two years.
“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,” said Park.
Under the management of Guus Hiddink, Park Ji-sung was instrumental for sealing South Korea’s place in the 2002 World Cup knock out stages after he scored the winning goal against Portugal.
“The proudest moment for me was of course the 2002 World Cup” he said.
“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.” he concluded.