Park Ji-sung (Hangul: 박지성; Hanja: 朴智星; Korean pronunciation: [pak̚.t͈ɕi.sʌŋ]; born 25 February 1981) is a South Korean former footballer who currently serves as a club ambassador at Manchester United.
Born in Goheung, Jeollanam-do, Park was the captain of the South Korea national team until his retirement from international football. He is the most successful Asian footballer in history, having won 19 trophies in his career and is the first Asian footballer to have won the UEFA Champions League trophy, the first Asian footballer to play in a UEFA Champions League final, as well as the first Asian footballer to have won the FIFA Club World Cup. Park is able to play anywhere across the midfield and is noted for his exceptional fitness level, discipline, work ethic and off-the-ball movement. His remarkable endurance levels and pace earned him the nickname "Three-Lungs" Park.
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 Manchester 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, and was a member of the team that finished fourth at the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He also represented his nation at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and was captain at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Park scored in all three consecutive tournaments (the first South Korean and only second Asian player to do so) and is currently Asia's joint all-time leading goalscorer at the FIFA World Cup finals with three goals, alongside compatriot Ahn Jung-hwan, Tim Cahill and Saudi Arabia's Sami Al-Jaber. After the 2011 Asian Cup, on 31 January 2011, Park announced that he was retiring from international football at a press conference held by the Korea Football Association in Suwon.
On 14 May 2014, Park announced his retirement from football, citing his knee injury as the reason for his departure.
On 2 October 2014, Park returned to Manchester United as one of the club's global ambassadors. He was presented by Sir Alex Ferguson at the home game against Everton. Park became the first Asian to become an ambassador at Manchester United and the sixth ambassador overall, following Sir Bobby Charlton, Andy Cole, Sir Alex Ferguson, Denis Law and Bryan Robson.
After retirement he began course studies for The FIFA Master - International Master in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, which he earned in March 2016.Close