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Park places sentiment to one side

Ji-Sung Park will hope to get the better of former team-mates Mark van Bommel and Arjen Robben when Manchester United FC travel to FC Bayern München in their quarter-final first leg.

Ji-Sung Park is eyeing United's third consecutive final appearance
Ji-Sung Park is eyeing United's third consecutive final appearance ©Getty Images

Ji-Sung Park will put friendship to one side as he attempts to spearhead Manchester United FC to a quarter-final first-leg victory against FC Bayern München and realise his ambition of playing his part in a UEFA Champions League-winning side.

The South Korean was one of a promising crop of midfielders which helped PSV Eindhoven reach the 2004/05 semi-finals and two team-mates from his time in the Netherlands will be pivotal players for the German side as they attempt to deny Sir Alex Ferguson's charges a third consecutive final appearance.

"I have two friends in Munich," said the 29-year-old Park ahead of the meeting at the Fußball Arena München. "I know Mark van Bommel and Arjen Robben from my time at PSV. I think they are very important for Munich. Of course, Franck Ribéry is a great player, so Munich have a strong team with good players."

Park has been a vital midfield component for the English champions and is hoping his form, coupled with United's impressive showing in the competition over the past two seasons, will enable him to taste glory in the Madrid final on 22 May.

"I want to play in a Champions League-winning team," said Park, who was on the losing side against FC Barcelona in last year's showpiece having been left out of the team which defeated Chelsea FC in Moscow 12 months earlier. "I have one medal from a match I didn't play in, then last year. So there is one thing left: I play and we win. It was a big disappointment in 2008, but even then I felt I could do more. I believed we would reach another Champions League final – I just didn't expect it to be the following year."

A regular name on the team sheet for United's crucial matches in Europe, Park's adaptability and industry should provide him with a sound base to make it third time lucky should the three-time European champions reach the final again. "For me it is not important which position I will play," he said. "The only important thing is that I will play. In each position I will give 100% and try my best."