Park’s next World Cup to be last

SEOUL: Manchester United midfielder Park Ji-Sung, a football icon in South Korea, has said next year's World Cup tournament in South Africa will probably be his last.

"2010 will likely be my last World Cup," the 28-year-old said at a training centre in Paju, north of Seoul, according to Sports Chosun.

"There is also the 2014 event but I don't think my stamina will last until then."

It was the first time that Park, who played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, had commented on his likely retirement.

Dong-A Ilbo newspaper also said in a website report Monday that Park sees the 2010 World Cup as his last.

"I will devote everything to attain a good result," he was quoted as saying, adding that a realistic goal for his team is to make the last 16.

South Korea this month qualified for the finals for the seventh successive time with a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in Dubai.

In 2002, when the nation co-hosted the World Cup with Japan, South Korea made it to the semi-finals under Dutch coach Guus Hiddink.

They made the final 16 in 2006.

"The 2002 Korean team was the strongest ever and younger and veteran players achieved good harmony," Park recalled, according to Dong-A.

"The national team for next year's event is quite similar to that in 2002...depending on how thoroughly we prepare for the event, we can attain a good result."

Park started his professional career in Japan with Kyoto Purple in 2000. After his outstanding performance in the 2002 World Cup, he went on to PSV Eindhoven and joined Manchester United in 2005.