World Cup, 2002
Park Ji-Sung's career's rise since he went to Japan has been nothing short of meteoric like a phenomenal poker game where someone goes victorious from flat out rock bottom. The dream come true started in 2002, when South Korea, under the management of Guus Hiddink, had an unbelievable run to the World Cup semi-finals. Even as the joint host nation with Japan- this was an incredible feat and Park's winning goal against Portugal in a crucial match had instantly made him a national hero.
After the World Cup, Park Ji-Sung moved to the Dutch side, PSV Eindhoven. In his first season there, PSV won the Eredivisie (Dutch league), but Park Ji-Sung rarely started and didn't play as much as he would have liked. Two years later, however, he was an integral part of the PSV side that won the league and cup double in 2005. Perhaps Park's greatest game outside of the World Cup- and certainly one that would have caught the attention of the Manchester United scouts, was his extraordinary display in cutting AC Milan apart in the Champions League semi-finals, scoring a goal in the process, in a match where PSV were very unlucky to lose. By 2005, Park had already established himself in the Champions League with 23 appearances, all for PSV and remarkably, by the age of 24, he has already received 50 caps for his country.