Park Ji-sung

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Park Ji-sung (Korean박지성; Hanja朴智星; Korean pronunciation: [pak̚.t͈ɕi.sʌŋ]; born 25 February 1981) is a South Korean former professional footballer who played as a midfielder. He currently serves as a club ambassador for Manchester United, for whom he played from 2005 to 2012. Born in the South Korean capital Seoul,[6] Park is the most successful Asian player in history, having won 19 trophies in his career.[7][8] He is the first Asian footballer to have won the UEFA Champions League, to play in a UEFA Champions League final, as well as the first Asian to have won the FIFA Club World Cup.[9] Park was able to play anywhere across the midfield and was noted for his exceptional fitness level, discipline, work ethic and off-the-ball movement.[10] His remarkable endurance levels and pace earned him the nickname "Three-Lungs" Park.[11]

Park Ji-sung
Park Ji-sung G20 Seoul Summit Ambassador.jpg
Park at the G-20 Seoul Summit in 2010
Personal information
Full name Park Ji-sung[1]
Date of birth (1981-02-25) 25 February 1981 (age 39)[2]
Place of birth Seoul, South Korea[3]
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[4]
Playing position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Manchester United (global ambassador)
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2000 Myongji University
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2000–2003 Kyoto Purple Sanga 76 (11)
2003–2005 PSV Eindhoven 65 (13)
2005–2012 Manchester United 134 (19)
2012–2014 Queens Park Rangers 20 (0)
2013–2014PSV Eindhoven (loan) 23 (2)
Total 318 (45)
National team
2000 South Korea U20 2 (0)
1999–2004 South Korea U23 21[α] (1)
2000–2011 South Korea 100 (13)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only
Korean name
Revised RomanizationBak Jiseong
McCune–ReischauerPak Chisŏng

Park began his football career in his native South Korea and played for the Myongji University team before moving to Japan to play for Kyoto Purple Sanga. After Park's national team manager Guus Hiddink moved back to the Netherlands to manage PSV Eindhoven, Park followed him to the Dutch side a year later. After PSV reached the semi-finals of the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League, Park's talents were recognised by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and he signed Park for a fee of around £4 million in July 2005. In his time at United, Park won the Premier League four times and also won the 2007–08 UEFA Champions League and the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup. He moved to Queens Park Rangers in July 2012 after suffering a reduction in his number of appearances for Manchester United the previous season. However, an injury-interrupted season with QPR, combined with the club's relegation, led to Park rejoining PSV on loan for the 2013–14 season.

As a member of the South Korea national team, Park won 100 caps and scored 13 goals.[12] He was a member of the team that finished fourth at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and also represented his nation at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. At the World Cup, he was named man of the match four times, the most times of Asian players,[13][14][15][16] and is currently South Korea's joint all-time leading goalscorer with three goals alongside Ahn Jung-hwan and Son Heung-min by scoring in three consecutive tournaments.

Early lifeEdit

Park was born in Seoul,[17][18] but his family registered his birth in Goheung, Jeonnam, which is his father's hometown.[19] Then he left for Suwon,[20] a satellite city of Seoul, and spent his adolescence in there. He began playing football during his fourth year of elementary school. During this time, Park attracted attention as one of the most promising young talents in South Korea and was scouted by a number of clubs. He was well known for his excellent work rate, mesmerising dribbling and accurate passes. However, his small physique became his weak point after he entered a middle school. His father, Park Sung-jong, quit his job and started a butcher shop for his son's dream. Sung-jong didn't only feed the meats but also frogs, antlers and blood of deers to Park.[11][21] While in high school, Park helped his high school team's win at high school competition of the Korean National Sports Festival in 1998,[22] though he was at that point rejected by a number of professional clubs and universities, due to his small stature. He ended up playing for Myongji University after Lee Hak-jong, his high school coach, strongly recommended him to Kim Hee-tae, the university coach. Park was attached to the university's tennis club at that time, because the football club was full, so Kim asked the tennis coach for help.[21]

From the winter holiday of his secondary school year, Park began to train with his university team as a prospective member. A few weeks later, in January 1999, his university team was given the chance to train with the South Korea Olympic team. After a splendid performance, he attracted the attention of Huh Jung-moo, the coach of the South Korea national team and Olympic team. Thereafter he became a preliminary member of the Olympic team, and finally a formal member of its squad. At 18 years old, it was believed that if Park had not been selected for the Olympic team, he would have been selected for the under-20 team instead. This selection was so unexpected for Park and others that it was rumoured that Huh selected Park to fulfil a bet after losing to Kim Hee-tae in a game of Go.[21]

On 5 April 2000, in a 2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification match against Laos, Park made his debut as a member of the national team, along with Lee Chun-soo. In June 2000, while he was a national team member and a second year student at Myongji University, Kyoto Purple Sanga of Japan offered Park a contract and he took the offer though he was still a relative unknown. Park was the first instance of a relatively unknown Korean player being offered a contract by a Japanese club.[23]

In September 2000, at the 2000 Summer Olympics, his Olympic team failed to advance to the knockout stage, and the South Korea national football team replaced head coach Huh Jung-moo with Guus Hiddink.

Club careerEdit

Kyoto Purple SangaEdit

In June 2000, Park signed with the Kyoto-based then J1 League side Kyoto Purple Sanga. In the spring of 2000, hearing that there was a rising star in Korea, Bunji Kimura, Sanga's coach at the time, visited Korea along with other scouts. In a practice game, the rising star did not attract their attention, whereas Park did. In an interview, Kimura said:

In a practice match, a player arrested our eyes. Despite his injuries, Park's performance was outstanding. Park played only about 20 minutes, however we could see his sense, physical strength, and his potential, so we accepted Park instead of the player we thought. This scout aroused a lot of criticism in Sanga because Park was unknown, to the point that I should resign.[24]

In 2001, the club won the J2 League title and were promoted to the J1 League. In 2002, Park led the team to the final of the Emperor's Cup, and in the final on 1 January 2003, he scored the equaliser with a header. The team went on to win the match 2–1 to become the Emperor's Cup champions for the first time in Sanga's history. This was Park's last game for Sanga.[25] In January 2003, he left Sanga as Guus Hiddink invited him to play for PSV Eindhoven.

PSV EindhovenEdit

After the World Cup, Hiddink was appointed as manager of Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. In 2003, Park and South Korean teammate Lee Young-pyo moved to PSV in order to play under their mentor and former national team coach. While Lee quickly became a fixture in PSV's starting line-up, Park struggled due to injuries. He had an operation to remove his meniscus after the injury and this affected his ability.[26] He felt fear when the ball came to him because he was jeered at by PSV fans disappointed at his performance.[27]

By the end of 2003–04 season, however, Park had begun to adapt to the Netherlands, both on and off the field. In the 2004–05 season, the departure of Arjen Robben to Chelsea afforded Park more starting opportunities and he quickly proved his worth to the team. Along with Johann Vogel, DaMarcus Beasley and Dutchmen Mark van Bommel and Philip Cocu, Park formed the backbone of PSV's midfield play with his pace and passing.[28] Having been a top contributor of goals and assists that season, the highlight of Park's PSV career came when he scored the first goal against Italian team Milan in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. PSV went on to win the home leg 3–1, but their 2–0 loss during the away leg meant Milan advanced to the final.[29]

Nevertheless, thanks to these strong performances, Park was chosen, along with Andriy Shevchenko, Adriano, Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho, as one of the nominees for the 2005 UEFA Best Forward award.[30] PSV fans were so enamoured with Park that they wrote a song about him entitled "Song for Park", which was included on the official PSV album PSV Kampioen.[31]

Manchester UnitedEdit

2005–06 seasonEdit

In July 2005, Park chose to join Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United. Park signed for the Premier League side for £4 million,[32] subject to a medical and work permit. He became the second East Asian player to sign for Manchester United,[33][34] after Dong Fangzhuo.

On 1 October 2005, Park largely contributed to a 3–2 victory against Fulham by assisting two goals and winning a penalty kick.[35] On 18 October 2005, Park became the first Asian to ever captain Manchester United when he took the armband from Ryan Giggs as he replaced him during a Champions League home group match against Lille.[36][37] Park's first goal for Manchester United came on 20 December 2005, during a 3–1 win over Birmingham City in the League Cup fifth round.[38] On 5 February 2006, Park appeared to have scored his first Premier League goal, against Fulham in United's 4–2 victory at Old Trafford.[39] The Premier League's Dubious Goals Panel, however, later ruled that this was an own goal due to a deflection off the Fulham defender Carlos Bocanegra. On 9 April 2006, Park scored his first official league goal, netting the second of a 2–0 home win over Arsenal.[40]

2006–07 seasonEdit

Park injured his ankle during the match against Tottenham Hotspur on 9 September 2006 and returned to the field after three months.[41] On 17 March 2007, he scored two goals against Bolton Wanderers, the first time he had scored more than once in a Premier League match.[42] In April 2007, Park was sent to America for surgery on a recurring knee injury, putting an end to his season.[43] Although sidelined by injury for most of the season, he recorded five goals and two assists in 14 appearances, and satisfied enough matches for a Premier League medal.[44] However, Park started suffering chronic knee problems which eventually accelerated his retirement.[45]

2007–08 seasonEdit

On 1 March 2008, Park scored his first league goal of the 2007–08 season after returning from his long-term injury against Fulham. His lack of appearances had caused much controversy in South Korea,[46] but he proved his worth when he delivered an assist to Wayne Rooney in the Champions League quarter-final match against Roma. On 29 April 2008, Manchester United advanced to the Champions League Final after beating Barcelona. Park, however, was excluded from the squad to face Chelsea in the final despite starting both legs of the semi-final; manager Sir Alex Ferguson later stated that leaving him out was one of the hardest decisions he had had to make throughout his managerial career.[47]

2008–09 seasonEdit

Park during the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final against Barcelona on 27 May 2009

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.[48] On 13 December 2008, he made his 100th appearance for Manchester United, starting in the match against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, the game ended 0–0.[49] Park was included in the 23-man squad for the FIFA Club World Cup held at the end of 2008. He missed the semi-final but played the full 90 minutes in the final which they won 1–0 becoming the first English side to win the competition. On 7 March 2009, Park scored his first FA Cup goal in the 4–0 quarter-final win over Fulham at Craven Cottage, he latched onto a misplaced pass by Zoltán Gera eventually slotting it into the far corner for the fourth and final goal.[50] On 15 April 2009, Manchester United advanced to semi-finals of the Champions League by defeating Porto 3–2 on aggregate. This made Park the only Asian player to be part of Champions League semi-finals on four occasions.

On 2 May 2009, Park verbally agreed to a new four-year £50,000-a-week deal at Manchester United, stating, "I have no reason to move. I play at the best club in the world."[51] Following this announcement, Park scored his second league goal of the season – and third overall – in a 2–0 away win against Middlesbrough.[52] On 5 May 2009, Park scored his first Champions League goal for Manchester United in the second leg of the semi-final against Arsenal at the Emirates. He pounced on a slip by Kieran Gibbs and placed the ball over Manuel Almunia in the eighth minute, with the game ending 3–1 (4–1 on aggregate), advancing United to the Champions League final for the second year running.[53] Park became the first Asian player in history to play in a Champions League final, although his team lost 2–0 to Barcelona.[54]

2009–10 seasonEdit

On 14 September 2009, Park signed a three-year contract extension with United, keeping him at the club until 2012. Ferguson said during the summer that he was always confident a deal would be done with Park, whose wages were estimated to be about £75,000 a week.[55] Park started the 2009–10 season poorly. He had to be absent again for a long period after the international match against Senegal, because a long flight filled his knee with water in October 2009.[56]

On 31 January 2010, Park scored his first goal of the 2009–10 season, hitting United's third in a 3–1 win against Arsenal. His last goal also came against Arsenal at the Emirates in the same scoreline, coming in the 2008–09 Champions League, this was also the first time United had beaten Arsenal at the Emirates in the Premier League.[57] On 10 March 2010, Park scored his first European goal of the season which was also his first for United in Europe at Old Trafford, hitting the third in a 4–0 win over Milan. This was also his second goal against Milan in the Champions League.[58] On 21 March 2010, Park scored a crucial winner in the derby against Liverpool, turning in Darren Fletcher's right-wing cross with a diving header.[59] On 4 May 2010, Park committed himself to United by openly claiming he would like to spend the rest of career with them, saying, "There is no reason to move to any other team."[60] On 9 May 2010, Park netted on the final day of the season, scoring a close-range diving header against Stoke City to wrap up a 4–0 win.

2010–11 seasonEdit

Park during a match against Fulham on 22 August 2010

Park returned to the United team for the first time following the World Cup as he started against a League of Ireland XI in their final pre-season game on 4 August 2010. He marked this game with the first ever goal scored at the newly built Aviva Stadium, he then scored a second later on as United ended the game 7–1 winners.[61]

On 22 September 2010, Park netted his first goal of the 2010–11 season as he scored United's fourth of a 5–2 away win against Scunthorpe United in the third round of the League Cup.[62] He then netted in the next round of the League Cup, scoring United's second goal in a 3–2 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on 26 October 2010.[63] Park scored his first two league goals of the season in a 2–1 home win over Wolves on 6 November, the second a late winner in the 93rd minute.[64] On 27 November, Park scored United's second goal in a 7–1 home victory over Blackburn Rovers.[65] Park's performance's during November 2010 helped him gain the Player of the Month award from the club's website.[66] Park was then voted as United Player of the Month for December 2010, grabbing the award for the second month in a row.[67] On 13 December, Park netted the only goal of the match against Arsenal,[68] a looping header, his fourth goal in seven starts against them.[69]

Park jetted off to captain South Korea in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and missed seven games for United after the turn of the year.[70] Upon his return from the subsequent tournament, he was ruled out for one month due to an hamstring injury which occurred during training. He returned to action for the first time since Boxing Day on 2 April, playing 64 minutes of a 4–2 away win over West Ham United.[71] On 12 April 2011, Park scored his first goal since the turn of the year when he scored the winning goal in the Champions League quarter-final second leg tie against Chelsea, ending in a 2–1 win.[72] On 8 May, Park assisted Javier Hernández's opening goal with an accurate through-ball just 36 seconds after the start of the crucial match, which virtually decided United's league title with a 2–1 victory over rivals Chelsea.[73] On 22 May, he scored a goal and set up the second goal for Anderson in the last match of the season against Blackpool. Park played in another Champions League final, against Barcelona in 2011, which United lost 3–1.

2011–12 seasonEdit

During the United States tour, Park scored in a 4–1 win against the New England Revolution and in a 7–0 win against Seattle Sounders FC. In the MLS All-Star Game, which Manchester United won 4–0, Park was named the man of the match after scoring a goal on the stroke of half-time.

On 28 August 2011, Park scored the sixth goal in an 8–2 home win against Arsenal, shortly after coming on as a second-half substitute. Park made his first start of the season in the Premier League in a 2–0 home win against Norwich City. Late on in the game he was involved in a neat one-two with Danny Welbeck in the creation of United's second goal of the day, which Welbeck finished. On 26 December 2011, Park scored an early goal in United's 5–0 home win against Wigan Athletic with a neat, side-foot finish from Patrice Evra's cutback. He also won the penalty that wrapped up the win which Dimitar Berbatov scored to complete his hat-trick. In an FA Cup fourth round clash against Liverpool, Park scored an equalising goal with a low finish from a Rafael cross to make it 1–1; however, United went on to lose the tie.

On 5 February 2012, Park made his 200th appearance for Manchester United by coming on as a substitute in the 86th minute against Chelsea. He became the 92nd player in the history of the club to reach the milestone. On 23 February 2012, Park captained Manchester United for the first time from the beginning of a match in a 2–1 home defeat to Ajax in the UEFA Europa League. Although the match ended in a defeat, United still advanced to the round of 16 with a 3–2 aggregate score. On 30 April 2012, Park played in the Manchester derby, in a game that was widely perceived as crucial to Manchester United's title defence. Park absented seven consecutive games by lagging behind in his positional competition at that time, but Ferguson trusted Park's big game ability. However, Park's performance was lethargic and he was criticized by the press.[74] Manchester United lost the game 1–0 and Manchester City went on to win the Premier League title.

Queens Park RangersEdit

Having received less first-team football in his last season at Manchester United, Park moved to Queens Park Rangers for an undisclosed fee on 9 July 2012, signing a two-year contract with the Hoops.[75] He made his debut in a 5–0 defeat at home to Swansea City on the opening day of the season on 18 August 2012.[76]

Park's first season with QPR was largely unsuccessful. Despite initially being made club captain, a combination of injuries and lack of form meant that Park was unable to have the kind of impact that was expected after his signing from Manchester United. Park finished the season with only 20 Premier League appearances and no goals, as QPR were relegated from the top flight of English football.

Return to PSV and retirementEdit

With QPR no longer in the top flight, Park rejoined PSV on loan for the 2013–14 season. The deal was completed on 8 August 2013, but Park's work permit application delayed his first game back for the club.[77] He scored his first goal against Heracles Almelo at 86 minutes to tie the game on 24 August, his second match with PSV after his return.[78] On 22 September 2013, Park led a 4–0 victory of team against Ajax with one goal and two assists.[79]

On 14 May 2014, shortly after the conclusion of the season, Park announced his retirement, citing issues with his knee. Reflecting on his career, he said, "I'm leaving with no regrets, I enjoyed playing football. I have achieved more than I 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."[80][81]

International careerEdit

Park began his international career for the South Korea under-23 team as an 18-year-old defensive midfielder, selected by the manager Huh Jung-moo, and made his debut against Chinese Taipei in the 2000 Summer Olympics regional qualifier on 27 May 1999. On 5 April 2000, Park also made his senior international debut against Laos in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification. In September 2000, Park appeared all three matches in the group stages of the 2000 Summer Olympics. South Korea was eliminated by goal difference although won two matches against Morocco and Chile in the group stage. In October 2000, Park contributed to the South Korea's third place by appearing five matches in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup.[82]

2002 World CupEdit

When Guus Hiddink became the head coach of South Korea, Park's position was shifted to that of a winger; since then, he has become a versatile player able to play in a variety of positions: central, right and left midfield, as well as wing-forward. Park showed his good condition by scoring against England and France in the friendly matches prior to the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[83][84] Park scored a memorable goal during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. During the group stages South Korea had won their first game against Poland and drew against the United States. In order to advance, they had to manage a draw at the least against favoured Portugal side, which included Luís Figo and Rui Costa. The game was 0–0 until the 70th minute following two red cards against Portugal, when Park scored the match winner, controlling the ball with his chest and beating Sérgio Conceição before volleying it through the legs of Portugal goalkeeper Vítor Baía and into the net with his left foot.[13] His goal eliminated Portugal and advanced South Korea into the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time. South Korea eventually made it to the semi-finals with victories over Italy and Spain, becoming the first Asian team to do so in the history of the FIFA World Cup. Park scored the second penalty in the quarter-final shoot-out against Spain, which South Korea won 5–3.[85]

2006 World CupEdit

Park was selected for the South Korea under-23 squad for the 2002 Asian Games and won a bronze medal.[86] Park also played for South Korea in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup during July. In the quarter-final, Park assisted the Seol Ki-hyeon's goal, but South Korea lost 4–3 against Iran.[87]

Park participated in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Park drew a crucial free kick that led to a red card for Jean-Paul Abalo, and Lee Chun-soo finished the chance with the equalising goal in the first Group G match, a 2–1 win over Togo.[88] Park scored the equalising goal in the second Group G match against eventual finalists France and was voted man of the match.[14] However, South Korea lost 2–0 against Switzerland in the last group match and failed to advance into the knockout stage.

2010 World CupEdit

On 11 October 2008, Park captained South Korea for the first time in a friendly, which Korea won 3–0 against Uzbekistan.[89] He was the skipper for the remainder of the qualification campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was South Korea's top scorer with five goals. One of his goals was against Iran in Seoul, beating two defenders then scored with his left foot.[90] South Korea advanced to the finals without a single defeat. On 24 May 2010, Park scored the winning goal with a solo effort in the rivalry held in Japan just before the World Cup.[91]

On 12 June 2010, Park netted in his third consecutive World Cup, scoring the second goal in South Korea's 2–0 win over Greece in their first group match, and celebrated the goal with a double windmill (swinging both arms round and round).[92][93] He became the first Asian to score in three consecutive World Cup finals and became Asia's joint all-time leading scorer in the World Cup with three goals, alongside compatriots Ahn Jung-hwan and Son Heung-min, as well as Sami Al-Jaber of Saudi Arabia.[94] On 22 June 2010, South Korea drew 2–2 with Nigeria and Park won the man of the match award which is his fourth in the World Cup.[16] South Korea successfully advanced to the knockout stage in the World Cup held in a foreign country for the first time, but lost 2–1 against Uruguay in the round of 16.

2011 Asian CupEdit

Park's father, Park Sung-jong, said his son has planned to end his national team career after the 2011 AFC Asian Cup tournament in Qatar.[95] Park travelled to the tournament on 26 December 2010 as squad captain.[70] Park made his 100th international appearance in the semi-final match against Japan on 25 January 2011.[96] Park induced a penalty kick which was finished as the opening goal but the match would not end in victory as they lost 3–0 during the penalty shoot-out following 2–2 after extra time.[97] South Korea coach Cho Kwang-rae confirmed on 28 January that Park had retired from international duty as he was left out of their 3–2 third place play-off victory over Uzbekistan.[98] Park was nominated as the tournament's Most Valuable Player alongside Mark Schwarzer, Keisuke Honda and Server Djeparov.[99] The award was eventually won by Japan midfielder Honda.[100] On 31 January, Park confirmed his retirement from international football to make way for younger players with potential.[101]

In January 2014, the national team manager Hong Myung-bo wanted Park's return to the team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but Park rejected Hong's suggestion because his knee was suffering to such an extent that he had to retire. Hong went to the Netherlands to persuade Park, but accepted the refusal after checking the condition of Park's knee.[102]

Style of playEdit

Park received much acclaim at Manchester United for his speed, off-the-ball movement, work rate and energy, which saw him deployed all over the midfield, including in the middle of the pitch, in a holding role, in a box-to-box role or on either wing, where he operated as a defensive winger, incessantly pressing the opponent players.[10][11][103][104][105] He was also known as a big game player, as he was often used by Sir Alex Ferguson in big league games or European games where there was an extra emphasis on defensive work.[106]

In his 2013 autobiography, I Think, Therefore I Play, Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo wrote that Park, who was deployed to man-mark him in matches for both PSV and Manchester United in the Champions League, was the one player that he could not get the better of. Pirlo wrote of Park, "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."[107]

In May 2020, former teammate Rooney stated that Park was as important to the Manchester United side of 2006–2009 as he and Cristiano Ronaldo were, commenting: "It's crazy but if you mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo to a 12-year-old, they would immediately say, 'Yeah, he was a brilliant player for Manchester United.' But if you said 'Ji-sung Park' they may not know who he was. Yet all of us who played with Park know he was almost as important to our success. That's because of what Park gave to the collective and I want to talk about teams. They – not stars – are the most important thing in sport. People say our United team had all these great players. In reality our biggest strength was as a pure counterattacking machine. We would sit back in our shape, win the ball and just go. Park or Fletch – or both – were always involved. They were vital to us. Players like me, Ronaldo, Tevez got the headlines but they [Park and Fletcher] were as important as us if not more, because of what they did for the team. We knew that inside the dressing room — and also that because they were so good at sacrificing themselves, their actual individual quality was often overlooked."[108]


Park is the founder of the charitable foundation, JS Foundation, set up in 2011, which develop and launch charity programs that will support football infrastructure and also the necessaries of life.[109][110] He is hosting the Suwon JS Cup, contested between South Korea and guest youth teams, for development of the Korean youth players since 2015.[111]

He has participated in the Asian Dream Cup annual charity event with a team entitled "Park Ji-Sung and Friends". Fellow professionals who have played with him at the event include fellow South Korean internationals Ahn Jung-hwan and Lee Chung-yong, North Korean international Jong Tae-se and United teammate and former England captain Rio Ferdinand, while celebrities who have also done so include current cast members and alumni of the popular SBS variety show Running Man, including actor Song Joong-ki, singer Kim Jong-kook and rapper Gary. As a result, Park's involvement in the 2012 edition marked his first appearance on the show over three episodes.[112]

On 25 July 2014, Park participated in the 2014 K League All-Star Game and was named the Most Valuable Player with a goal.[113] On 5 October 2014, it was announced that Park was to take up a role as a global ambassador for Manchester United.[114] In 2016, Park attended De Montfort University to read sports management with a view to coaching in the K League.[115] He began course studies for The FIFA Master - International Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, which he graduated from in July 2017.[116]

Personal lifeEdit

Park largely kept his personal life out of the spotlight and surprised the media by announcing his upcoming wedding to former television reporter Kim Min-ji at his retirement press conference.[117] They married on 27 July 2014 in South Korea.[118] Their daughter was born in London in November 2015.[119] Park identified Carlos Dunga as his football idol in his early years.

Career statisticsEdit


Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other[a] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Kyoto Purple Sanga 2000 J1 League 13 1 1 0 2 0 16 1
2001 J2 League 38 3 1 0 1 0 40 3
2002 J1 League 25 7 4 1 0 0 29 8
Total 76 11 6 1 3 0 85 12
PSV Eindhoven 2002–03 Eredivisie 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
2003–04 Eredivisie 28 6 1 0 10 0 1 0 40 6
2004–05 Eredivisie 28 7 3 2 13 2 0 0 44 11
Total 65 13 4 2 23 2 1 0 93 17
Manchester United[120] 2005–06 Premier League 34 1 2 0 3 1 6 0 45 2
2006–07 Premier League 14 5 5 0 0 0 1 0 20 5
2007–08 Premier League 12 1 2 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 18 1
2008–09 Premier League 25 2 3 1 1 0 9 1 2 0 40 4
2009–10 Premier League 17 3 0 0 2 0 6 1 1 0 26 4
2010–11 Premier League 15 5 1 0 2 2 9 1 1 0 28 8
2011–12 Premier League 17 2 1 1 3 0 7 0 0 0 28 3
Total 134 19 14 2 11 3 42 3 4 0 205 27
Queens Park Rangers 2012–13 Premier League 20 0 3 0 2 0 25 0
PSV Eindhoven (loan) 2013–14 Eredivisie 23 2 0 0 4 0 27 2
Career total 318 45 27 5 16 3 69 5 5 0 435 58
  1. ^ Includes other competitive competitions, including the Johan Cruijff-schaal, FA Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and FIFA Club World Cup


National team Year Competitive Friendly Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
South Korea U20 2000 1 0 1 0 2 0
South Korea U23 1999 3 0 5 1 8 1
2000 3 0 5 0 8 0
2002 3 0 0 0 3 0
2004 2 0 0 0 2 0
Total 11 0 10 1 21[α] 1
South Korea 2000 8 0 7 1 15 1
2001 3 0 7 0 10 0
2002 10 1 5 2 15 3
2003 0 0 1 0 1 0
2004 6 0 2 0 8 0
2005 5 1 3 0 8 1
2006 5 1 3 0 8 1
2007 0 0 2 0 2 0
2008 6 3 1 0 7 3
2009 5 2 5 0 10 2
2010 4 1 7 1 11 2
2011 5 0 0 0 5 0
Total 57 9 43 4 100 13
Career total 69 9 54 5 123 14
  1. ^ a b Does not include three appearances and a goal against club teams

International goalsEdit

No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 7 June 2000 Tehran, Iran 6   Macedonia 2–0 2–1 Friendly
2 21 May 2002 Seogwipo, South Korea 32   England 1–1 1–1 Friendly
3 26 May 2002 Suwon, South Korea 33   France 1–1 2–3 Friendly
4 14 June 2002 Incheon, South Korea 36   Portugal 1–0 1–0 2002 FIFA World Cup
5 8 June 2005 Kuwait City, Kuwait 54   Kuwait 4–0 4–0 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification
6 18 June 2006 Leipzig, Germany 61   France 1–1 1–1 2006 FIFA World Cup
7 6 February 2008 Seoul, South Korea 68   Turkmenistan 3–0 4–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
8 31 May 2008 Seoul, South Korea 70   Jordan 1–0 2–2 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
9 15 October 2008 Seoul, South Koera 73   United Arab Emirates 2–0 4–1 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
10 11 February 2009 Tehran, Iran 75   Iran 1–1 1–1 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
11 17 June 2009 Seoul, South Korea 80   Iran 1–1 1–1 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
12 24 May 2010 Saitama, Japan 87   Japan 1–0 2–0 Friendly
13 12 June 2010 Port Elizabeth, South Africa 89   Greece 2–0 2–0 2010 FIFA World Cup


Kyoto Purple Sanga

PSV Eindhoven

Manchester United

South Korea U23

South Korea



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Further readingEdit

External linksEdit