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Park Ji-sung in Hiddink’s Arms Again

Posted December. 22, 2002 22:46,   


Korean `wonder boy` Park Ji-sung (21, Kyoto Purple) has made his dream come true. The `lord of ring` Ahn Jung-hwan (26, Simiz S-Pearls) is also expected to soon make his way into the European league.

Park, who became a national hero after the 2002 World Cup, has agreed to join PSV Eindhoven, a Dutch club led by his mentor Guus Hiddink, for total $4.5 million, or 5.4 billion won - $1 million plus $1 million annual salary for three and a half years. Park will go back to Japan for the Emperor Cup Match and fly over to the Netherlands early next year for a final medical test.

Park turned down a more then $1 million offer from the Purple to play under the former national coach Hiddink. He hopes to eventually enter a big league in England, Italy or Spain.

˝I will try my best for the rest of the season to be remembered as a good player by Japanese fans,˝ said Park, ˝My goal is to eventually advance into a big league via Eindhoven.˝

Meanwhile, Ahn, who once played in Italy, is pinning his hopes on negotiations with Spanish clubs. He has been in talks with a couple of clubs in Europe including Atlantico Madrid.

e-Players, a sports agency representing Ahn, said it is considering $3 million for transfer and $1.2 million for annual salary, and Atlantico Madrid, a German and a French club are showing interest.

On the other hand, `Vacuum cleaner` Kim Nam-il (25, Jeonnam Dragons) and the `nimble boy` Lee Chun-soo (21, Ulsan Hyundai) are having hard times making their ways into Europe. Dutch Feyenoord recently withdrew its bid for Kim, and Lee will not likely see any progress in negotiations until last year.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com