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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 21, 2009

Park hoping to banish pain of missing Moscow final

South Korea midfielder Ji-Sung Park has admitted missing out on last year's Champions League final was the most heart-wrenching moment of his career.

The 28-year-old did not make the 18-man squad for the penalty shoot-out victory over Premier League rivals Chelsea in Moscow.

It was a decision even hardened manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted "almost broke my heart'' and one he will not be repeating in Rome on Wednesday.

The fact Ferguson has gone out of his way to stress Park is definitely part of his plans to face Barcelona is testament to the improvement the hard-working midfielder has made this season.

"No one knows until the start [who will be selected]. If I play I will do my best,'' said the Korean. "It was very disappointing [last year] because players want to play in big games like the Champions League final.

"If they do not play it hurts. I think it was the biggest disappointment of my career. Our team wins titles and I am happy because I am in a good team but still it was heartbreaking.

"But after that I believed Manchester United would again reach the final and I worked hard and now I have one more chance and this time it is different to last season.''

Ferguson has yet to decide who will miss out this time around but Park said even after his experience 12 months ago he would not be offering words of comfort to the unlucky few.

"It is a big disappointment but you can't say anything to them because it is heartbreaking,'' he said. "It is something they have to get over themselves and believe next time or in the future they can do something.''

Park is adored by millions in his homeland but he insists he prefers the relative anonymity of England and plans to stay at Manchester United for a long time.

The fanatical following of Premier League football in south-east Asia means the midfielder, playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, is arguably their greatest star.

He is mobbed every time he appears in public in Korea and admits the relative calm of north-west England provides something of a sanctuary for him.

And he is happy for other members of United's squad to enjoy the celebrity limelight.

"The culture is different. Asian fans chase me and shout - it is different in England,'' he revealed. "When I go back to Korea maybe I couldn't go out in the street.

"But I don't want to be a famous guy or a popular guy, I just want to be a good player. No one knows in the future but I want to be here longer, as long as I can.''

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