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Park Ji Sung


Ji-Sung Park

In the closing months of the 2004-05 season, Park chose to join Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United, who was impressed with Park's lively style of play, terrific pace, and unparalleled fitness. Park signed for the English Premiership side Manchester United for £4 million, subject to a medical and work permit.

Park became the first Asian to ever captain Manchester United when Ryan Giggs passed the armband to Park as he was being substituted in a European home game against Lille OSC. His first goal for Manchester United came on 20 December 2005, during a 3–1 win over Birmingham City in the League Cup Quarter Final. His first goal in the Premier League appeared to have been against Fulham on 5 February 2006, in Manchester United's 4–2 victory at Old Trafford.  However the Premier League's Dubious Goals Panel later ruled that this was an "own-goal" due to a deflection off a Fulham defender. Park's first official league goal came against Arsenal on April 9, in Manchester United's 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.

In April 2007, Park was sent to America for surgery on a recurring knee injury, putting an end to his season. Although sidelined by injury for most of the season, he still played in enough matches to become the first Korean player to win the Premier League.

On 1 March 2008, Park scored his first Premiership goal of the 2007-08 season after returning from his long-term injury against Fulham. His lack of appearances had caused much controversy in Korea, but he proved his worth when he delivered an assist to Rooney in the Champions League quarter-final match against A.S. Roma. On 9 April 2008, Park took part in the second leg quarter final against AS Roma. With Manchester United advancing to semi-finals of Champions League, Park became the only Asian footballer to be part of the Champions League semi-finals three different times. On 29 April, 2008, Manchester United advanced to the Champions League Final after beating Barcelona. Park was voted Man of the Match. On 21 May, it came as a huge surprise to many that Park was excluded completely from the squad to face Chelsea in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final. Many believed that Park's performances against Roma and Barcelona had earned him a place in the starting line-up for the final. With that omission, Park failed to become the first footballer from Asia to play in a Champions League Final, as had widely been anticipated in South Korea. Later, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson stated that leaving the South Korean winger out from the 18-man squad for the Champions League final was one of the hardest decisions he had to make all throughout his managerial career.

Early in the 2008–09 Premier League season, in an away match versus Chelsea, Park scored the only goal for United in a 1–1 draw on 21 September, 2008, in a game which he also won the Man of the Match award.

Source: Park Ji-Sung (wikipedia)