The Manchester United wide man says that continuing knee problems have given him little choice in the matter.
“It was a great honour to play for the national football team. If there were no injuries, I could have continued, however, I have no choice.”
Park has signed a contract at Manchester United that could keep him at the club for another four years and the twenty-nine year old believes that this decision will enable him to do so.
The main reason he is moving on, he says, is that he has done what he can for the national side and now feels he should let younger men take over and have their chance.
“Above all, I would like to make way for team-mates who have been making remarkable progress.”
He certainly has done his bit to put South Korean football on the map. After joining Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in 2005 he has picked up three Premier League winners medals and three League Cup medals as well. In 2009 he became the first man from his country to play in a Champions League final.
Since making his international debut in 2000 Park has played a major part in a fine decade for South Korea. He was in the team which reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2002, the best performance by any Asian team in the competition, and also played in the 2006 and 2010 tournaments.
Following the announcement, South Korean manager Kwang-rae said,
“Park Ji-sung has done a remarkable job for the prosperity of Korean football. It would be better if I could retain him in the national team but other players have done an excellent job.”
Midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung said,
“He has been really a great player for ten years and I am really proud of him and he showed to the people all over the world that Korean football is getting better.”
Park can now get down to the business of trying to extend Manchester United’s unbeaten run and adding a fourth Premier League winners medal to his collection.
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