UTD Unscripted: Ji-sung Park on Patrice Evra friendship


We won the Premier League many times and reached many finals, and it was in Moscow that I had one of my saddest moments when I found out I wasn’t in the squad for the Champions League final against Chelsea. Everyone was great, but I still remember Patrice and Carlos in particular, they definitely gave me comfort. I was sad, obviously, but they just hugged me, then I could read their faces how they felt disappointed for me and how sad they felt. They wanted to share the occasion with me, with their friend, so I felt really appreciated by their behaviour and their expressions on their faces. But what can we do? I was disappointed before, then once the game started I was just praying for us to win. That’s our situation. The atmosphere in our dressing room was like that. After everything, we won the Champions League so nobody can blame anybody! 

The party afterwards, I half enjoyed it, half didn’t enjoy it, it was a strange feeling. I could understand it in my head that we were champions of Europe but I couldn’t really feel it in my heart, so it was mixed feelings. I was really happy that we succeeded and won the Champions League, which is what we wanted to do, and I know it wasn’t only me, there were other players in the squad who hadn’t played. We had 25 or more who wanted to be in the squad and only 18 who could make it, so I knew it wasn’t just me. That’s the team, you know. 

For me, I appreciate that I contributed some things to the squad to help reach that achievement, but every player knows that they have to do their job. If I couldn’t get in the manager’s squad in Moscow, that means there was something I had to improve in myself. If you lose something, you have to find the way to achieve it the next time. I did, because the next year we got to the Champions League final again and I started that time, but unfortunately we didn’t win!

After that, Carlos left and it became very strange. We had always been together, then when he left there was a space where he had been. Me and Patrice were always talking about it, always wondering why he left to join City, because we missed him, but that’s football; you never have all the same players with you through all the way to retirement. We know that one day we’re going to split, but with us it happened quite early, after just two years. We wished that he had stayed longer, but that’s the football life and we have to accept it. 

It wasn’t long before Carlos was back at Old Trafford with City, and that was a very, very unusual day for us. Even the warm-up was strange. We’d always been together, the three of us warming up, then before this game we were warming up separately on the pitch, just me and Patrice together and we could see Carlos over there with his new team. That first moment we saw him was this strange feeling, but then it had gone because we’re professionals, so we knew we had to focus on the match, we had to win. After that we could hug our friend and talk to him, but during the match the main job is the derby and we have to win the game. Football, it just moves on. 


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