Another UEFA Champions League semi-final clash is yet upon us as Real and Atletico Madrid face off on Tuesday.
Atletico will take a short trip within the Spanish capital city to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu as they play Real for the fourth successive time in the elite European league.
Both sides have clashed two times in the final and Real came out victors on both occasions. The other was at the quarter finals and Real were victors. This is the first time they are competing in the semi-final – a rare thing in the Champions League era.
Since the rebranded tournament in 1992, there have been 44 semi-final clashes but less than 20 percent of them have been games between clubs in the same league. Even rarer is a city derby.
The first domestic semi-final clash happened at the start of the new millennium. Barcelona played Valencia in the semis. Valencia defeated their rivals 4-1 in the first leg and had 5-3 aggregate to excel.
In two years, Real had to battle Barcelona on the same stage. Current Real coach Zinedine Zidane was on target alongside Steve McManaman at Nou Camp. They return ended 1-1 and Madrid prevailed.
In 2003, at the height of the Milanese competition, Andriy Shevchenko’s goal was enough for AC Milan to go past Inter after the first leg ended in a barren draw.
Chelsea and Liverpool met in 2005 and 2007. On both occasions the Reds were the victors.Liverpool won the first time, going on to beat AC Milan in the final, doing the Istanbul miracle. In 2007, the game dragged on and was decided through spot kicks which Liverpool won. The Blues met them the following year but they prevailed this time. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Chelsea won the return 3-2 to advance to the final.
Man United and Arsenal met in the last four of 2009. United had the advantage from the first leg and goals from Park Ji Sung and Cristiano Ronaldo sealed a 4-1 aggregate.
The most recent domestic semi-final was six year ago when xlr8 SoccerBarca prevailed over Real Madrid courtesy of a Lionel Messi magic. They went on to defeat Man United in the final.
Manchester United legend Ji-Sung Park has opened up on why he always performed anytime he faced Arsenal.
The forward scored five goals against the Gunners during his stay at Old Trafford. Park has pinned the reason to Arsenal’s playing style which he takes advantage of whilst adding that United prepared well for the games.
“I don’t know why I performed well against Arsenal but probably we prepared well and it could be their football style as well. They liked the passing game and then with me, we could take the ball and break down the game.
“That kind of football style could have been suited to me more, so that’s one of the reason I performed well against Arsenal,” the South Korea football star said.
Park was on the scorers’ list in the 8-2 demolition of Arsene Wenger’s men. The player won four Premier League titles with United under Sir Alex Ferguson during his seven year stay in Manchester. He subsequently left the club for Queen Park Rangers in 2012 but he was forced to retiretwo years later due to persistent keen issues.
“It’s quite difficult to explain but I really enjoyed playing against Arsenal and I’m really pleased that we had great results against them during my career,” the player added.
Park was successful at United and he was always chosen for the big games by Ferguson. He attributed this to his superior energy levels during games and due to his impressive fitness.
Numerous established stars have praised his work rate during big matches. After his Man-of-the-Match showing against AC Milan in the Champions League in 2010, Andrea Pirlowas impressed, describing him as the powerhouse of his Asian nation.
On his fitness, Park described it as “one of his [sic] strength, compared to other players.” His high energy during games earned him the tag ‘Three Lungs.’ He went on to be the biggest soccer ever in Korea.
On February 14 of 2017, Paris Saint-Germain hosted Barcelona at the Parc des Princes for their 1st leg Champions League 16 – tie.
This match was one of the most surprising encounters as the French team was able to come out on top with a 4-0 triumph.
Barcelona was performing in full force with the likes of: Messi, Suarez, Neymar and Iniesta as their main attacking force but they failed to score a single goal and now the Spanish club has the task of coming back from a 4 goal deficit which has never been done before.
Paris Saint-Germain was clearly outplaying Barcelona throughout the entire match and it was pretty evident in the scoreboard as the home team scored 2 goals in each half.
Even though no team has ever managed to come back from 4 goals in the 1st leg of a Champions League tie, the head coach of Paris Saint-GermainUnai Emery still thinks that Barcelona has enough talented and capable players to make resurgence as the 45 year old manager of Paris Saint-Germain said:
“The only feeling I have is that the team had huge effort, and it paid off if we consider the great work of Barcelona and also, thanks to the great talent of our players and their ability to respond. We proved something today but I will keep on playing the same respect to Barcelona. The message to the dressing room and to the squad is clear; we still have 90 minutes to go. We know we will suffer in Barcelona, we know it will be a long 90 minutes.”
The 2nd leg of the Champions League tie between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain will be taking place in a few weeks on March 8 in the home turf of the Spanish club in Camp Nou and Lionel Messi along with the rest of his squad will have to make one of their best performances ever in order for Barcelona to reach the quarter-finals.
Chelsea defender Marco Alonso is set to break a premier League record in his first season at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues player is poised to eclipse Dutchman Arjen Robben’s record. As the club is set to break Arsenal’s premier League record of 14 games winning streak, Alonso is focused on getting his own name written in gold.
The 25-year old Spaniard has already started 14 consecutive Premier League games, which have ended in victories. As Chelsea’s winning streak continues, Alonso could break Robben’s record of most games started and won in a row. Alonso currently places fifth on the list but could quickly usurp others as league rivals fail to stop Chelsea.
In 2006, Roben started and won 20 games in a row with Manchester United legend Park Ji Sung coming closest with 16 games started and won in a row two years later. Red Devils legend Gary Neville is third on the list with 15 – the number he shares with Nicky Butt. This leaves Alonso in fifth place with 14.
However, worthy of note is that Alonso’s run stretched back to his time with Sunderland on loan. He played there in the 2013/14 season and won all four games he started, with the first being victory at Stamford Bridge. He only just returned to England after a summer deadline transfer of £23 million from Serie A side Fiorentina.
Alonso made his debut in the 3-0 demolition by Arsenal as a substitute whence he won the heart of the manager and fan. With ‘comfortable’ fixtures for Chelsea until year-end, Alonso could be in ready to challenge Robben’s record after getting past Butt, Neville and Ji Sung.
Alonso recently revealed that the team does not celebrate victories like they used to as they were now used to winning. Chelsea will however face a tough test against Tottenham in the first week of January.
Ji Sung Park said that Manchester United is improving under Jose Mourinho and that there are signs that the players now understand Mourinho’s philosophy.
He stated that the performance at Anfield is a reflection of the progress they have made under the Portuguese manager and that they are improving tactically.
He believes that the Manchester United have been playing some tough games in recent weeks and that they will get a run that will be more favorable to them soon. This will allow the team to build confidence and also relieve some of the pressure from the players.
For Ji-Sung Park, Manchester United has a good squad at the moment and that it will all depend on how the new players adapt. He feels that players such as Pogba are still adapting to their new surroundings and that soon they will be scoring goals freely.
He said that fans should get used to Mourinho’s playing style. Ever since he was at Chelsea, Mourinho has always favored an effective football where the result is more important than the aesthetic. He said that fans should only judge the team on where they finish at the end of the season.
Ji Sung Park believes that this is a start of a new era under the Portuguese manager and that the team will be dominating the Premier League as well as Europe in the season to come. He said that the manager is still hungry and that he is motivated to build a team that can challenge the best team in Europe.
Ji Sung Park is currently studying for a degree in Sports Management. He is currently on three months program at the Leicester University. He said that at the end of his course he would decide whether he will get into a coaching role.
Former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji sung claims that the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic will immensely help the youngsters at the club.
The Swedish striker has moved to Old Trafford in the summer on a free transfer from Paris St Germain. Even though he still costs a lot in terms of wages, it is an extremely good deal for United in a summer where they have spent £ 150 million on three other players. Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have joined the José Mourinho revolution, which has kicked off in the summer.
Ibrahimovic has always been a great personality who has dominated over other players. However, his former teammates all hold of him in high regard since he has always put results over his own individual records. The immense talent within the 34-year-old may not have landed him a FIFA Ballon d’Or award, but he is widely regarded as a player who can perform at the highest level on a consistent basis. Ibrahimovic also has the quality of mentoring young players at the club. The presence of names like Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford at United makes it important for the club to have such a mentor figure.
Park Ji sung feels that Ibrahimovic will motivate the youngsters to achieve his level. “Yeah I think the club needs a big character like him.He has a lot of experience and then he can show his character in the dressing room and on the pitch.He can influence the players and particularly the young players. They can learn a lot from him and then show it on the pitch,” said Park Ji sung. Ibrahimovic has been immensely successful in his career winning league titles in four different countries across Europe.
Ji Sung-Park believes that if Manchester United had been able to rescue their season if they had been able to seal the 4th place spot in the Premier League however, unfortunately for Louis van Gaal and his players, they were not able to do it as the 2015-16 season of the Premier League has reached it’s end and Manchester United had to settle with the 6th position.
The South Korean retired footballer stated that it would be a disappointing season for Manchester United if they failed to snatch the 4th spot which is what happened with the English outfit.
Ji Sung-Park spent over 5 years performing for Manchester United and after retiring on May of 2014, the South Korean football figure went on to become the club ambassador.
“We (Manchester United) are just two points behind, and we have a game in hand. That is motivation enough for the players because they know how important it to play in the Champions League is. Without it, it would be quite depressing for the players. They need something, some achievement as professional footballers.” Manchester United’s club ambassador, Ji Sung-Park said a few weeks ago as he stated that anything less than 4th would be a huge blow for Manchester United.
6th place in the Premier League means that Manchester United will not be competing in either the Champions League or the Europa League for the upcoming season, however, they still have a chance of participating in the European competition if Louis van Gaal and his squad are able to win the FA Cup in the finals which is scheduled to take place on May 21 as Manchester United faces off with Crystal Palace.
If Manchester United are able to win the FA Cup and defeat Crystal Palace, it won’t be a totally disappointing campaign according to Ji Sung-Park.
Ex-Red Devils player, Park Ji-Sung thrilled fans in public appearances in Singapore.
The Retired South Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung who spent seven trophy-laden years at Old Trafford thrilled some local crowds. The 35-year-old won four Premier League titles, three League Cups and a Champions League crown during his time at Manchester United.
The retired player was in Singapore as part of a promotional campaign for haircare brand, Clear. Students of Singapore Polytechnic had the opportunity to witness former Manchester United player Park Ji Sung in action when he made a special appearance at the school.
Park who is widely regarded as the greatest Asian player to have graced the modern game, the Manchester United ambassador was in town as part of haircare brand Clear’s promotional event.
Park had arrived in Singapore two days ago and will be leaving on Tuesday night. Park participated in a series of games together with a team of SP students and also representatives from the company. After the games, which included running through acupressure mats to score a goal, Park took time to take pictures with star-struck fans and answer some questions.
Park commenced his career with J-League club Kyoto back in 2000, then shifted to PSV Eindhoven under Guus Hiddink before coming to the attention of former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. He signed with the Red Devils in 2005 and became the first South Korean to win a Premier League medal and went on to enjoy a successful stint in Manchester.
Now acting as an ambassador for the English giants, Park was asked what it was like to play alongside Real Madrid superstar and former United standout Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It was great,” he said.
“You know he can score, he can create chances and he can make space for other players.
“It was easy to play with him and I really enjoyed playing with him.”
Ji-Sung Park is the most decorated football player to have emerged from Asia and the vast majority of the titles that the retired footballer secured during his playing career were obtained when he performed with Manchester United a few years ago.
The last time that Manchester United won the Premier League title was back in the season of 2010-11 and they have struggled trying to repeat this feat and their latest Champions League finals victory was even further away as United won the European competition back in 2008 when defeating Chelsea in the finals.
As you can see, it’s been a fairly long time since Manchester United has won a top tournament. Ji-Sung Park was part of the squad of the English club that last won the Champions League and this was over 6 years ago and ever since then, they have been struggling just trying to make it into the semi-finals.
Even after having retired from playing football at a competitive stage, Ji-Sung Park still plays an influential role for Manchester United as he is the club ambassador of the Premier League club and the South Korean player has recently talked about his former club and he believes that they are still capable of landing a top 4 finish in the Premier League.
“Wow, that’s quite a difficult question. They still have a chance, if they perform continually well. This season is up and down quite often. It’s not good for the team. Hopefully they make it and I want to see Man United in the Champions League.”Ji-Sung Park said he replied to the question if Manchester United are capable of landing a top 4 spot in the Premier League.
Every club from every top European league aim to finish in the top 4 as it will allow them to compete either in the Champions League or in the Europa League for the upcoming season.
Park wants to see Manchester United making a last charge for the Champion League spot and hopefully return to their old form and turn into the club that was considered to be one of the elites of football.
Peter Crouch looks like one of the high-profile exits from Stoke City in the summer.
The former England international has rarely featured for Mark Hughes’ team in the 2015-16 campaign. He has been at the Britannia stadium for the last five seasons, but this may be his last. His lack of first-team opportunities may force him to drop down a few divisions. At 35 years of age, he is in the final stages of his career that has seen him play for clubs like Portsmouth and Liverpool. He remains as one of the best scorers for England when it comes to goals per game ratio.
Crouch has started only one league match this campaign. He has appeared as a substitute in seven others, but he has not managed to find the back of the net in even one. Other players who are set to join the exodus include Steve Sidwell and Peter Odemwingie. The two players are also out of contract but they have been playing on loan at other clubs. Crouch represented the England national team for five years from 2005 to 2010. During this period, he made 42 appearances and scored 22 goals. It is rather surprising that he has not elected to go out on loan at other clubs even when he has not been the preferred first choice at Stoke
After being a regular in the first four seasons at the Britannia stadium, the 35-year-old made the bulk of his 169 appearances for the Premier League outfit. To find himself out of favour almost immediately will come as a surprise for the player, but he still has a couple of years left in the game. It remains to be seen if Crouch will be ready to drop down a division and continue playing this game or try a stint in the MLS.