“I could read their faces how they felt disappointed for me.”
Former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-sung has recalled one of the “saddest” moments of his career at Old Trafford.
Park arrived at Man United from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2005 in a £6.5 million transfer.
The South Korean would go on to play over 200 games for the Red Devils in seven seasons at the club.
The midfielder established himself as a fan favourite during his time in Manchester and won plaudits for his tenacity and incredible work rate.
Park contributed 28 goals and 29 assists for the club before departing for Queens Park Rangers in 2012.
Park’s difficult 2007/08 season.
During the 2007/08 season, the former South Korea international was plagued with injury issues and as such, he missed the entirety of that season’s Champions League group-stage games.
Eventually, Park made a return to the squad in the second half of the campaign and featured in Man United‘s wins over AS Roma and Barcelona in the Champions League knockout stages.
However, ahead of their clash against Chelsea in the competition’s final, manager Alex Ferguson decided to omit the midfielder from his 18-man squad list — a decision he still regrets to this day.
“My problem in the 2008 final, maybe I even regret it to this day, was (that) I left Ji-sung Park out completely in the final,” Ferguson said in an interview with MUTV.
“He’d played such a great role and that’s the problem when you get to these finals.”
Park recalls his ‘saddest’ moment.
Park has opened up on the “sadness” of missing out on the final against the Blues and revealed how two teammates in particular comforted him.
“We won the Premier League many times and reached many finals,” the 40-year-old told the club’s official website.
“And it was in Moscow that I had one of my saddest moments when I found out I wasn’t in the squad for the Champions League final against Chelsea.
“Everyone was great, but I still remember Patrice (Evra) and Carlos (Tevez) in particular, they definitely gave me comfort.
“I was sad, obviously, but they just hugged me, then I could read their faces how they felt disappointed for me and how sad they felt.
“They wanted to share the occasion with me, with their friend, so I felt really appreciated by their behaviour and their expressions on their faces. But what can we do?
“I was disappointed before, then once the game started I was just praying for us to win. That’s our situation. The atmosphere in our dressing room was like that. After everything, we won the Champions League so nobody can blame anybody!
“The party afterwards, I half enjoyed it, half didn’t enjoy it, it was a strange feeling. I could understand it in my head that we were champions of Europe but I couldn’t really feel it in my heart, so it was mixed feelings.
“I was really happy that we succeeded and won the Champions League, which is what we wanted to do, and I know it wasn’t only me, there were other players in the squad who hadn’t played.
“We had 25 or more who wanted to be in the squad and only 18 who could make it, so I knew it wasn’t just me. That’s the team, you know.”