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When Park Ji-Sung Pocketed Prime Andrea Pirlo For 180 Minutes In Man-Marking Masterclass

When Park Ji-Sung Pocketed Prime Andrea Pirlo For 180 Minutes In Man-Marking Masterclass

Park Ji-sung once man-marked prime Andrea Pirlo out of a two-legged Champions League tie and it's still the stuff of legends.

Park was a hit during his seven year stint at Manchester United for his energy and always running his socks off.

One of his most memorable moments came in 2010 when United were drawn with AC Milan in the Champions League last 16.

Pirlo was regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world - meaning it was Park's job to stay on him every single minute of both games.

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In the video above, you'll see the South Korean international cover so much ground as he terrorises Pirlo.

"Your job today is not about touching the ball, it's not about making passes, your job is Pirlo. That's all: Pirlo," Sir Alex Ferguson explained to him before the game.

It's safe to say the Italian was made uncomfortable as he made just 21 passes in the second leg at Old Trafford.

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United dominated the tie and went through 7-2 on aggregate.

Pirlo even discussed Park in his autobiography 'I Think Therefore I Play' and labelled him a 'guard dog'.

He stated per Balls.Ie: "Even Sir Alex Ferguson, the purple-nosed manager who turned Manchester United into a fearsome battleship, couldn't resist the temptation. He's a man without blemish, but he ruined that purity just for a moment when it came to me. A fleeting shabbiness came over the legend that night.

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"At Milan, he unleashed Park Ji-sung to shadow me. He rushed about at the speed of an electron. He'd fling himself at me, his hands all over my back, trying to intimidate me. He'd look at the ball and not know what it was for.

"They'd programmed him to stop me. His devotion to the task was almost touching. Even though he was a famous player, he consented to being used as a guard dog."

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

Former Red Devils defender Rio Ferdinand discussed the game on BT Sport earlier this year and he was still in awe at Park's performance.

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"I remember we played against Milan in Milan and Pirlo was at the centre of everything that they done," the former England international said.

"The manager played Ji-sung Park on him, it was a man-marking job, and I'm sure Pirlo woke up the next morning, looked at the bottom of his bed and expected to see Ji-sung Park there.

"He was that good.

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"Whatever the manager set out for him to do, whether it was defend against somebody, stop someone playing or go in there and make a difference in the opposing team's box, he'd carry that out."

It's clear to see why the 39-year-old was such a valuable player for one of European football's most dominant forces.

Featured Image Credit: Hoang 1991/YouTube

Topics: Football News, Park Ji-Sung, Football, Manchester United, Andrea Pirlo, Legends, AC Milan, Champions League, Rivalries

Daniel Marland

Daniel is a freelance journalist for SPORTbible and covers a variety of sports. He also has past experience of working at Manchester United and once locked eyes with Jose Mourinho. He lived to tell the tale.