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‘Park Ji-sung was just as important to United as Ronaldo’

Park Ji-sung, Ronaldo
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Ronaldo is well known in United folklore but a certain Park Ji-sung was just as influential to the club’s success, according to club legend Wayne Rooney.

Wayne Rooney has spoken about the influence of ‘forgotten’ man Park Ji-sung during his time at Manchester United.

Park and Ronaldo spent four years as team-mates at Old Trafford, winning three Premier League titles, a League cup and the Champions League.

Ronaldo eventually left for Real Madrid and now stars with Juventus but continues to be adored by the Old Trafford faithful.

While Park didn’t boast the pace, skill and trickery the Portuguese had, Rooney has highlighted an important attribute that made the South Korean just as important to United as Ronaldo – teamwork.

Speaking in his personal column on the Times, Rooney was quoted as saying “It’s crazy but if you mentioned Cristiano Ronaldo to a 12-year-old, they would immediately say, ‘Yeah, he was a brilliant player for Manchester United,’ but if you said ‘Park Ji-sung’ they may not know who he was,”

“Yet all of us who played with Park know he was almost as important to our success. That’s because of what Park gave to the collective and I want to talk about teams. They – not stars – are the most important thing in sport.

“Understanding the importance of the team is all about gaining that understanding of what it takes to win. And it’s not just team play but team mentality that brings titles.”

“Playing for the team is about taking on board the manager’s instructions. One player lacking discipline can kill the whole game plan.”

24 goals and 29 assists in 204 appearances for United surely means Park wasn’t anywhere close to Ronaldo in terms of goal contributions.

But the South Korean made up for that with his attitude and team-work and as highlighted by one of the club’s top legends, he deserves more praise for his time at the club.