Remembering when Park Ji-sung pocketed Andrea Pirlo in the Champions League in 2010

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When Manchester United faced AC Milan in the Champions League in 2010, Sir Alex Ferguson came up with a plan to stop Milan’s chief playmaker, Andrea Pirlo.

That plan was Park Ji-sung.

“Your job today is not about touching the ball, it’s not about making passes, your job is Pirlo. That’s all: Pirlo,” Ferguson told Park before the knockout tie.

And the South Korean midfielder carried out his job perfectly.

Everywhere Pirlo went over the course of the two legs, Park followed.

Park would have even followed the Italian if he had suddenly gone to the toilet.

The Red Devils won the tie 7-2 on aggregate and a video of Park nullifying Pirlo in both legs shows why his performances are still talked about today.

We had to chuckle at this comment:

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Earlier in 2020, Rio Ferdinand recalled Park’s display during an appearance on BT Sport.

“I remember we played against Milan in Milan and Pirlo was at the centre of everything that they done," Ferdinand said.

“The manager played Ji-sung Park on him, it was a man-marking job, and I’m sure Pirlo woke up the next morning, looked at the bottom of his bed and expected to see Ji-sung Park there.

“He was that good.”

“Whatever the manager set out for him to do, whether it was defend against somebody, stop someone playing or go in there and make a difference in the opposing team’s box, he’d carry that out.”

Park rarely grabbed the headlines in a way that Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo did, but he was clearly valued in the dressing room.

And Fergie had enough faith in him to mark Pirlo for 180 minutes.

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