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Ji-Sung Park will hang up his boots next season

Mar 26, 2013, 10:28 AM EDT

Queens Park Rangers' Park challenges Sunderland's Larsson during their English Premier League soccer match in London Reuters

Oh, how the mighty fall.

According to the father of Queens Park Rangers midfielder Ji-Sung Park, the 32 year old is poised to retire from football at the end of next season. Sung-jong Park said: “Nobody knows the future; maybe he could play one more year with a new team after next season. But I think [Ji-Sung] has made his mind up to retire. He thinks he’s played enough.

“He’s never had times like this with PSV Eindhoven or Manchester United. My son has had difficult times at QPR this season; it was a new experience to him. Ji-sung said it’s difficult to keep his feel for the game as his playing time is inconsistent, but he doesn’t have any hard feelings.”

To say the South Korean has struggled since signing from Manchester United in a £2m deal last summer would be an understatement. Last year at Old Trafford he scored four goals in 30 appearances in all competitions for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. This season he’s stepped on the pitch 22 times for QPR but has yet to register a single goal. Perhaps even more shocking than the numbers is Park’s uninspiring performances for a club devoid of midfield quality.

Once a work-horse of the highest order, Park earned the moniker “Three Lung Park” from the Old Trafford faithful for his ridiculous displays of energy and stamina at United. The midfielder’s tenacity prompted Ferguson to once famously admit that it was not Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney who gave him the most selection headaches, but rather Park.

Under the United boss’ tenure, Park made a name for himself as a big-time Champions League player. Notable performances included a man-of-the-match performance in the second leg win over Barcelona in 2008, an awe-inspiring man marking shutdown of Andrea Pirlo during the quarter finals in 2010, and a brilliant goal against Chelsea to knock the Blues out of the 2011 quarter finals.

Park will reportedly see out his two-year contract at Loftus Road, although it’s hard to foresee him regaining the fitness that made him a cult hero at Old Trafford. If QPR are relegated – and at the bottom of the barrel with 8 matches to go that looks like it will be the case – it will be sad to see Park forced to finish his career in the Championship.

What are your thoughts on Park’s retirement? Do you see him regaining the form he had at United? Is Harry Redknapp to blame for Park’s decline?

  1. goonah4life - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    I know he always worked hard but I never much fancied him. The only reason I liked seeing him play for United is because my United friend Jonny cringed everytime he set foot on the pitch. Jonny was probably the happiest man in the world when Park left for QPR.

    • Michael Prindiville - Mar 26, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      Yeah, I tend to agree. United supporters would probably defend him but beyond the work rate I didn’t quite see the lure. Still, quite a downfall in 1 season.

      • jessedinner - Mar 26, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        Park always seemed to play real well in important games for Manu.

  2. Steve Davis - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Too bad, really. I think his skill and experience could be valuable for a team in MLS, especially considering the lack of Asian stars here. Unless he was asking for stupid money, I’d take Park on my MLS team.

  3. seanb20124 - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    MLS

    • scoocha - Mar 27, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      South Korean excelling in the Premier League? No chance. MLS may be interesting move to NY or Cali.

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