Asian football pioneer Park Ji-sung delights fans at Jockey Club festival

Former Manchester United star, the first Asian to win a Uefa Champions League trophy, is now a global ambassador for the club and shares his story with youngsters

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 March, 2016, 10:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 March, 2016, 10:38pm

Asian football pioneer Park Ji-sung visited Hong Kong yesterday, delighting more than 1,000 schoolchildren as one of the guests of the Jockey Club’s Riding High Together Festival held at Sha Tin Racecourse yesterday.

A global ambassador for Manchester United, Park hailed his compatriot Kim Pan-gon manager of the Hong Kong side for doing a fantastic job.

“When I was young, [Kim] played for the K-League and had a great career as a football player in Korea, contributing a lot of things,” said Park, who won 19 trophies in his career and the first player from Asia to have won the Champions League trophy when he was with United in 2007-08.

“I am delighted to hear he is doing a great job in Hong Kong as many fans respect him. I really appreciate that.

“As a player, you need to meet a great coach to help you improve your skills, mentally and physically and that’s why I always think a coach is very important.”

The 35-year-old former midfielder shared his story and played soccer with some of the children in a four-a-side game as part of the festivities at the two-day event.

Park, who has made a 100 international appearance for his country, also witnessed a group of students set a Guinness record of making the “longest paper chain of cheering messages” in one hour for Hong Kong athletes and sportsmanship.