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'Thought it was a joke' - Park Ji-sung recalls moment he was told Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him for Manchester United

Zack Oaten

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'Thought it was a joke' - Park Ji-sung recalls moment he was told Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign him for Manchester United

Park Ji-Sung has reflected on his time playing for Manchester United in a new interview with NBC Sports, revealing his shock and awe after hearing that Sir Alex Ferguson had expressed an interest in him.

When Sir Alex Ferguson signed Park in 2005 from PSV Eindhoven for just £4m he became only the second East Asian player to represent the club and the first Asian player to ever captain them.

Park became a cult hero and fan favourite all over the world after overcoming language barriers and the struggle to adapt to the European lifestyle and football culture.

The South Korean spoke about those struggles and how he thought somebody was playing a joke on him when first being told of Sir Alex's

"My agent told me that Man United were interested in me, but I thought it was a joke, why? Then I just didn't take it seriously." he told NBC.

Ji-sung laughed and added: "My manager said to me that Sir Alex Ferguson was waiting for your call!"

Sir Alex Ferguson surprised Park when he requested to speak with the South Korean
Sir Alex Ferguson surprised Park when he requested to speak with the South Korean

"I said 'What? Why?' and he said 'he wants to talk to you' and then i realised he was really serious."

At that stage, it was a tough choice whether to leave PSV or stay for another season but Park opted to join Ferguson's side to try and test himself and the players certainly helped him adapt to not only the team but the country as well.

"When I joined the players all just helped me to adapt to the culture of the club and the culture of England, how it looks like in the Premier League," he added. And even Sir Alex Ferguson off the pitch is a really great man and great person to follow, it made it a lot easier to adapt to the English culture."

One player in particular stood out for Park, a player who would later become one of his best friends after signing just under a year after him - Patrice Evra.

"When I look back, it was quite strange. It was just one day after training and we were playing a video game. I won the first game and he (Patrice Evra) was quite angry at that, so he wanted me to play again, that started our relationship," Park revealed.

Patrice Evra became one of Park Ji-sung's closest allies at United. (Image: Alamy)
Patrice Evra became one of Park Ji-sung's closest allies at United. (Image: Alamy)

"He became one of my best friends, the kind of friend that had a different character. He was a more outgoing person, he had that sense of humour. I'm a quiet, very quiet person but we always had happy times when we got together.

"He came over to South Korea sometimes and then we met at other places. We always joked on the phone, it's really good to have a best friend in a different culture. One of the great things about joining Man United is that I made a best friend."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Zack Oaten
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