Go to contents

Why Park JS Missed June 4 Friendly vs. Spain

Posted July. 08, 2010 14:50,   


When it was announced that soccer star Park Ji-sung would not play in the June 4 exhibition match against Spain, the public grew confused and disappointed.

This is what happened, however.

Kwak Tae-hwi, a key defender on the national team, suffered a ruptured ligament in the May 30 friendly versus Belarus. Because of this, he was ruled out of the World Cup.

The national team’s medical staff was on high alert and began reviewing the entire roster to prevent another mishap. The first player reviewed was team captain Park.

Immediately after the English Premier League season ended, the Manchester United star joined the national team. He showed stellar play against Japan and performed well versus Belarus.

The Belarus friendly was played in horrendous weather, and players were severely fatigued, including Park. Moreover, Korea lost Kwak to injury in the game.

As a result, team doctors started checking Park’s fatigue level. He could have played in the game at any rate.

But Park’s strong sense of responsibility led to worry that he would become overly active in the Spain friendly. So a Dong-A Ilbo sportswriter suggested that team coach Huh Jung-moo sit out Park, saying that if the captain suffered even a minor injury, it could negatively impact Korea in its first Group B match against Greece.

Accordingly, a stern order was placed to protect Park until he fully recovered.

Park took a walk on the field one day and underwent a rehabilitation exercise with the team`s chief doctor Choi Ju-yeong. The midfielder was able to fully recover when he entered South Africa. As a result, fans saw Park’s spinning-wheel goal celebration in the 2-0 win over Greece.

The Dong-A writer made the decision because of his personal experience with Park at United. Park missed 12 straight games between September and December last year.

At the time, the writer visited the team and heard from United’s physical trainer, who said, “Park is exhausted. If he plays now, he will face an uncertain future.”

The trainer said Park underwent rehabilitation surgery on his left knee in April 2007 and needed rest to recover from accumulated fatigue. The team provided a player with a long-term rest based on accurate data.

Park was putting into practice a method to manage himself in a natural fashion amid United’s thorough management plans.

So who is the fussiest player on the Korean national team? The answer is Park, and this demonstrates how thoroughly he manages his condition on his own.