An unsung gem and a trailblazer for Asian footballers
The hardest working player in the business has a new home at Loftus Road. He will be missed at Old Trafford where for seven years he could be depended on to give a 110% every time he came on the pitch.
Park Ji Sung joined Utd in 2005 for £4m from PSV Eindhoven and in doing so became the most decorated Asian player, helping Utd win four Premiership titles. He also became the first Asian to play in a Champions League final in 2009, a year after being controversially omitted by Sir Alex when Utd won against Chelsea on penalties. A player who likes keeping a low profile and enjoys the relative anonymity of the Manchester streets is a legend at home in S.Korea where he’s regularly mobbed by fans. A long journey for someone considered too weak to play anything when growing up in Suwon, on the outskirts of Seoul.
This news is a bit shocking because even at 31 years of age, Park had a lot of running left in his legs. It became de riguer to see him tracking back down the flanks, through the centre, tirelessly tackling the ball away, becoming one of the finest in that business.
The Utd midfield was always a bit of a minefield with Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, never their best going backwards with Scholes especially a hair breadth’s away from being booked. For Sir Alex, Park was invaluable providing that defensive mettle when they needed to close down shop. And he could score, as many an Arsenal fan can tell you, reducing the Gunners to a hapless byline, through his counterattacks. Initially, he had to work against countless skeptics who believed Sir Alex had signed him to boost Utd’s popularity in the East but those skeptics are an endangered lot because he’s proved to be one of the most invaluable players to wear Utd’s colours in recent memory.
QPR get a player who has not slowed down an iota and for only £2m (that is unbelievable). Park was supposedly swayed by Tony Fernandes and Mark Hughes’s ambitions to thrust QPR into the top bracket of the Premiership. In accordance, QPR have already signed Fabio De Silva on a year loan. And now in Park Ji Sung, they find the perfect player to realize those ambitions. It’s almost as if Utd want QPR to be in a repeat position and this time beat City to steal the Premiership on the final day.