Posted May. 29, 2009 06:48,
When midfielder Park Ji-sung of Manchester United appeared at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome for the final of the UEFA Champions League yesterday, my heartbeat quickened.
I was really impressed when he became the first Asian to play in a Champions League final. When Park was left out of last seasons final against Chelsea in Moscow, a sense of disappointment stayed within me while watching the game.
Parks selection to Uniteds starting lineup gave hope to aspiring players in Asia given his stellar performance in the English Premier League, which is widely considered the worlds best. His achievement as the first Asian to play in a Champions League final has also etched him a permanent place in soccer history.
Park could not fully enjoy his history-making moment, however. United struggled against the superior passing and teamwork of FC Barcelona in the 2-0 loss. Park kept his head down after receiving the runner-up medal and even avoided my eyes. I could say nothing about his performance.
But take heed, Park! Do not be disappointed. Some days you win, some days you lose. Take courage and grab the opportunity next year.
This years Champions League failure was not yours, but Uniteds. The Red Devils were overwhelmed by Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. Their sophisticated passing attack frustrated United, and Barcelona deserved to win Wednesday.