SUWON, South Korea (AP) — Park Ji-sung has called time on a trailblazing career that was launched in South Korea's unlikely run to the World Cup semifinals and really took off during his seven seasons with one of the world's biggest clubs.
The long-time Manchester United midfielder told a news conference Wednesday at a stadium named in his honor that he has retired from top-flight football. In his immediate plans are two friendly matches later this month and a wedding date in July.
The 33-year-old Park played his last season on loan with PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league. He retired from international football in 2011, after representing South Korea at three World Cups, and rejected calls for a return to help the squad at Brazil 2014.
A high-energy, hard-working midfielder, Park followed manager Guus Hiddink from the national team to Eindhoven after the 2002 World Cup, then became the first South Korean to make an impact in the Premier League after signing with Manchester United, where he won the 2008 Champions League and four Premier League titles.
At the time of negotiations for his last contract at Manchester United in 2011, manager Alex Ferguson said the Korean's "career at United has been nothing but excellent, a tremendous professional."
Park left Old Trafford in 2012 after seven seasons to make an ill-fated move to Queens Park Rangers. After the team's relegation from the English Premier League, Park was loaned to PSV Eindhoven, where his European journey had begun in 2003.
"I've been mulling retirement since February, and I've concluded that my knee won't hold up for another season," the domestic Yonhap news agency quoted Park as saying. "I have no regrets about my career. I do think about what might have been if I hadn't been injured, but I have no feelings of disappointment or sorrow as I leave the sport."
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