74 Facts About Park Ji-sung


Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung was able to play anywhere across the midfield and was noted for his exceptional fitness level, discipline, work ethic and off-the-ball movement.


Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung moved to Queens Park Rangers in July 2012 after suffering a reduction in his number of appearances for Manchester United the previous season.


Park Ji-sung was a member of the team that finished fourth at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and represented his nation at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


Park Ji-sung was born in Seoul, but his family registered his birth in Goheung, Jeonnam, which is his father's hometown.


Park Ji-sung then left for Suwon, a satellite city of Seoul, and spent his adolescence there.


Park Ji-sung began playing football during his fourth year of elementary school.


Park Ji-sung attended Anyong Middle School and Suwon Technical High School.


Park Ji-sung was well known for his excellent work rate, mesmerising dribbling and accurate passes.


Park Ji-sung 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 Ji-sung 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.


At 18 years old, it was believed that if Park Ji-sung had not been selected for the Olympic team, he would have been selected for the under-20 team instead.


On 5 April 2000, in a 2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification match against Laos, Park Ji-sung made his debut as a member of the national team, along with Lee Chun-soo.


Park Ji-sung was the first instance of a relatively unknown Korean player being offered a contract by a Japanese club.


In June 2000, Park Ji-sung signed with the Kyoto-based then J1 League side Kyoto Purple Sanga.


In 2002, Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung had an operation to remove his meniscus after the injury and this affected his ability.


Park Ji-sung felt fear when the ball came to him because he was jeered at by PSV fans disappointed at his performance.


Nevertheless, thanks to these strong performances, Park Ji-sung was chosen, along with Andriy Shevchenko, Adriano, Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho, as one of the nominees for the 2005 UEFA Best Forward award.


In July 2005, Park Ji-sung chose to join Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United.


Park Ji-sung became the second East Asian player to sign for Manchester United, after Dong Fangzhuo.


On 18 October 2005, Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung injured his ankle during the match against Tottenham Hotspur on 9 September 2006 and returned to the field after three months.


However, Park Ji-sung started suffering chronic knee problems which eventually accelerated his retirement.


Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung was included in the 23-man squad for the FIFA Club World Cup held at the end of 2008.


On 5 May 2009, Park Ji-sung scored his first Champions League goal for Manchester United in the second leg of the semi-final against Arsenal at the Emirates.


On 14 September 2009, Park Ji-sung signed a three-year contract extension with United, keeping him at the club until 2012.


Park Ji-sung 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.


On 21 March 2010, Park Ji-sung scored a crucial winner in the derby against Liverpool, turning in Darren Fletcher's right-wing cross with a diving header.


Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung was then voted as United Player of the Month for December 2010, grabbing the award for the second month in a row.


Park Ji-sung jetted off to captain South Korea in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and missed seven games for United after the turn of the year.


Park Ji-sung won the penalty that wrapped up the win which Dimitar Berbatov scored to complete his hat-trick.


On 5 February 2012, Park Ji-sung made his 200th appearance for Manchester United by coming on as a substitute in the 86th minute against Chelsea.


Park Ji-sung became the 92nd player in the history of the club to reach the milestone.


On 30 April 2012, Park Ji-sung played in the Manchester derby, in a game that was widely perceived as crucial to Manchester United's title defence.


Park Ji-sung absented seven consecutive games by lagging behind in his positional competition at that time, but Ferguson trusted Park Ji-sung's big game ability.


However, Park Ji-sung's performance was lethargic and he was criticized by the press.


Park Ji-sung finished the season with only 20 Premier League appearances and no goals, as QPR were relegated from the top flight of English football.


On 14 May 2014, shortly after the conclusion of the season, Park Ji-sung announced his retirement, citing issues with his knee.


Park Ji-sung 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.


On 5 April 2000, Park Ji-sung made his senior international debut against Laos in the 2000 AFC Asian Cup qualification.


In September 2000, Park Ji-sung appeared all three matches in the group stage of 2000 Summer Olympics, and South Korea was eliminated by goal difference despite two victories in the group.


In October 2000, Park Ji-sung played five matches at the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, where South Korea finished third.


When Guus Hiddink became the head coach of South Korea, Park Ji-sung'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 Ji-sung showed his good condition by scoring against England and France in the friendly matches prior to the 2002 FIFA World Cup.


Park Ji-sung scored a memorable goal during the 2002 FIFA World Cup.


Park Ji-sung's goal eliminated Portugal and advanced South Korea into the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time.


Park Ji-sung was selected for the South Korea under-23 squad for the 2002 Asian Games and won a bronze medal.


Park Ji-sung played for South Korea in the 2004 AFC Asian Cup during July.


Park Ji-sung scored the equalising goal in the second Group G match against eventual finalists France and was voted man of the match.


Park Ji-sung 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.


On 24 May 2010, Park Ji-sung scored the winning goal with a solo effort in the rivalry held in Japan just before the World Cup.


Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung travelled to the tournament on 26 December 2010 as squad captain.


Park Ji-sung made his 100th international appearance in the semi-final match against Japan on 25 January 2011.


Park Ji-sung was nominated as the tournament's Most Valuable Player alongside Mark Schwarzer, Keisuke Honda and Server Djeparov.


Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung was capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, or even in a more advanced role as a second striker on occasion.


Ferguson once claimed that Park Ji-sung was one of the few players in the world capable of marking Lionel Messi.


Yet all of us who played with Park Ji-sung know he was almost as important to our success.


That's because of what Park Ji-sung gave to the collective and I want to talk about teams.


On 25 July 2014, Park Ji-sung participated in the K League All-Star Game, and was named the Most Valuable Player with a goal.


On 5 October 2014, it was announced that Park Ji-sung was to take up a role as a global ambassador for Manchester United.


In 2016, Park Ji-sung was selected to participate in the 17th edition of The FIFA Master - International Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport with a view to furthering his ambition of working in sports administration.


In December 2021, Park Ji-sung rejoined Queens Park Ji-sung Rangers, coaching the under-16s under the guidance of the technical director Chris Ramsey.


Park Ji-sung has identified Brazilian former holding midfielder Dunga as his football idol in his early years.


Park Ji-sung 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.


Park Ji-sung 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 the necessaries of life.


Park Ji-sung is hosting the Suwon JS Cup, contested between South Korea and guest youth teams, for development of the Korean youth players since 2015.


Park Ji-sung has participated in the Asian Dream Cup annual charity event with a team entitled "Park Ji-Sung and Friends".


Park Ji-sung accepted the criticism and appealed to the United fans to stop singing his chant on behalf of Korean players and fans.