January 23, 2014 10:49
A big question mark hangs over whether Park Ji-sung will come out of retirement to join the national team for the 2014 World Cup.
His father, who takes care of Park's charitable JS Foundation, told the Chosun Ilbo on Wednesday that the player is in talks with football associations in Malaysia and Indonesia to hold a charity match on May 31 or June 1. This could create a scheduling conflict that would rule Park out of the World Cup.
Earlier, national team manager Hong Myung-bo revealed his plan to meet Park in person in February after overseas training to discuss his possible return to the team. Park, who is now playing for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie, retired from international duty in 2011.
The final roster of 23 players for the World Cup will be released in mid-May, before the team's final round of training. If Park's charity game coincides with this, it is unlikely that he will be able to join the team in Brazil.
Work was already underway for the game before talk of Park's possible return to the team surfaced, according to his father.
"After a similar match in Shanghai last year, we talked about where to hold the next charity event and tentatively set dates in late May or early June," he said, adding that "all of the plans could change depending on how Ji-sung feels after talking with Hong."
Upon arriving in Los Angles on Tuesday after a weeklong training camp in Brazil, Hong told the press at the airport that he was unaware of Park's schedule and plans. "I need to talk with him first before any decisions are made," he said.
Park has arranged charity games every year since 2011, first in Thailand and then in Vietnam and China. They featured his former teammates from Manchester United, including Patrice Evra of France and England's Rio Ferdinand. But such high-profile players will probably not be at his disposal this year due to the World Cup. The same holds true for Koreans playing in overseas leagues like Lee Chung-yong, Ki Sung-yueng and Kim Bo-kyung.
Meanwhile, Park plans to marry SBS presenter Kim Min-ji in July immediately after the World Cup, according to his father. No specific date has been fixed yet, his father said.
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